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Film / Kill Your Darlings

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The guy on the right looks familiar...

"In writing, you must kill all your darlings."

Kill Your Darlings, a 2013 biographical Drama directed, co-written, and co-produced by John Krokidas in his feature-length film debut. The story revolves around a specific event involving the pioneers and leaders of The Beat Generation, Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe), Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston), and William S. Burroughs (Ben Foster) before they were famous. The movie is Based on a True Story, although how much of the film is dramatic license and how much is actual history isn't apparent.

The movie opens with an underwater shot accompanied by Allen Ginsberg's voiceover, "some things, once you’ve loved them, become yours forever." As the camera pans up and out of the water, we see Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan), shirtless and bloody, holding a body that he just murdered. Both the visuals and voiceover set the tone and theme for the rest of the film.

This film provides examples of:

  • Adapted Out: Joan Vollmer, Edie Parker's roommate at the time the film takes place and William Burroughs' eventual wife, is not featured.
  • The Beat Generation: The movie is about the founding fathers.
  • Based on a True Story: The movie is based on the murder of David Kammerer.
  • Bungled Suicide: Lucien Carr attempts to kill himself in jail by hanging himself with his bedsheets, but the knot undoes itself.
  • Cast Full of Gay: David and Allen are both gay, William is Bisexual, Lucien is probably gay (although possibly bisexual), and Jack Kerouac is probably bisexual, although his lust for Lucien is never confirmed.
  • Character Development: Allen Ginsberg begins the film as a high schooler with a fairly dull life. It ends with him being the man with the willpower, passion, and vision to lead a social and literary movement.
  • The Charmer: Lucien Carr seduces almost everyone he comes into contact with.
  • Contrast Montage: An extremely, extremely uncomfortable one involving drug abuse, the death of a friend, anonymous sex, and murder.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Something that happened "in Chicago" to Lucien Carr is often referred to, much to his displeasure, but is eventually explained.
  • Driven to Suicide: Lucien Carr, fearing he'll be in jail for the rest of his life.
  • Fantasy Sequence: Many, frequently taking place in jazz clubs.
  • Foreshadowing: When Allen Ginsberg and (more importantly) Lucien Carr 'hang themselves', and the pole the ropes are roped around breaks.
  • The Gadfly: Lucien Carr's introductory scene involves reading aloud obscene poetry in the middle of a library and his ability to manipulate other people's emotions is what drives the entire movie.
  • Gayngst: At least two gay character's unrequited love.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Many of the people who come across Lucien, but especially Allen Ginsberg.
  • How We Got Here: The film opens with a shirtless Lucien Carr disposing of a body in a river, covered in blood.
  • Indulgent Fantasy Segue: Allen Ginsberg has a brief, sexual fantasy about Lucien Carr as he falls asleep in his lap.
  • Moment Killer: Jack Kerouac is guilty of this, both in-movie and for the fans.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Calling the cops sooner would have been much smarter.
  • Period Piece: From the jazz to the clothing to the World War II radio broadcasts, this very much takes place in the early 40's.
  • Straight Gay: Lucien, Allen, and David are all gay, but none are campy.
  • The Tease: Lucien Carr seduces a large percentage of the cast, and is never seen fulfilling any of their physical or emotional desires.
  • Tragic Villain: Lucien Carr manages to sucker the audience as well as he does the characters in the film.