#StrictlyIndie Film Views: "Kill Your Darlings"

We at CongestedCat are big supporters of Independent Film and try to draw attention to what up-and-comers are working on right now, especially when their work can be seen in theaters. We've decided to add a series to our blog where we review independent features two Fridays out of every month, one currently in theaters and one currently accessible on Netflix. The reviews will be written by team member Ryan Kramer. Check out the first one below and look out for the next in two weeks. 


#StrictlyIndie Film View:
"Kill Your Darlings"

At its start, I thought the film might be encumbered by the way the characters speak in literary tongues, but that feeling subsided as quickly as I was thrown into the lives of these colorful individuals.

The story is centered around Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe), who leaves his complicated home life to study at Columbia University. He meets Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan), who apparently thrives off “complicated” circumstances, and the two instantly hit it off.

Coming from someone who isn't particularly fond of heavy handed period pieces, this film makes sure not the delve into that territory. It simply focuses the majority of its attention on the coming of age story of Allen. It’s about love, individuality and loss of innocence. It’s also just as much about obsession as the film’s tagline implies. Every character is utterly enthralled by Lucien Carr. It’s fascinating to see who will get caught in his web of manipulation as this incredible cast rebels against Columbia’s old-­school principles of rhythm and meter, and attempts to reinvent poetry and literature all together.

That leads me to the minor (or maybe not so minor to some) flaws of the film. John Korokidas’ original cut of the film stood at a somewhat lengthy two hours and twenty minutes; and by the time the studio cut it down it lost about forty minutes of that runtime. I’m sure it lost some of its character development in that almost hour. This is mostly shown through Allen’s mother, who doesn't get as much screen time as it seemed she should have had. She pops up rather abruptly, in a way that seemed forced, to help Allen with a tough decision right before the film's resolution. 

In spite of its shortcomings, Kill Your Darlings was one of my favorite films of 2013, with great performances all around and a poignant directorial debut for John Krokidas. It has limited release in theaters now. Check your local listings for a chance to watch the film on a big screen.