Kill your Darlings review
My Summary: This is the true story of the pioneers of the Beat Generation that your parents or grandparents were teens in. Daniel Radcliffe plays William Burroughs who is coming to college to become a poet and meets Lucien Carr played by Dane DeHaan who basically is a nonconformist to say the least. The film follows their relationship through the struggles and the murder of a stalker/lover of Carr.
The Good: The most important thing I can say is Daniel Radcliffe doesn't take away from this incredible story because of his Harry Potter roots. The performances by DeHaan and Radcliffe are phenomenal and sympathetic to say the least. Radcliffe starts off as an ambitious poet who is attached to his mother but by the end he has become a man who possesses the traits of a soon to be legend. He no longer has the Harry Potter staple here and loses himself in the role. DeHaan is incredible playing a kid who is incredibly conflicted but also a man with the philosophy like The Joker who endorses pure anarchy. He steals the show with his ability to generate sympathy but also curiosity. You have no idea what this guy is capable of doing at any point in the film. The music and editing work so well together and create such emotional depth. The scenes with narration don't just tell you whats going on but offer insight into the mind of these extraordinary men who had big ideas and big struggles. This film is about pure emotion and spirit. You feel for both these characters every step of the way and even when they do the wrong thing you can empathize with it. The set designs and costumes give the film a more 40s/50s feel but never distracts you from the real story. The story is told in a nonlinear way where the ending is at the beginning since anyone who knows the real story will already know there's been a murder. There's a lot of chaos between the boys but it's all mostly for a purpose to them.
The Bad: This film might turn some people off because it isn't about the murder itself rather what happened emotionally and mentally that led up to it. It's a character study of how the most influential pioneers of a generation came to know each other. There's no action, gun shooting, diabolical plans, or anything like that. The trailer is misleading again as if this is all just some lifetime movie of obsession gone crazy which in a way it kind of is. However, the film only has two scenes of the murder and it isn't until the very end almost. The rest of the time you're watching the boys talk, act crazy, speak philosophically/spiritually, and live life.
Verdict: Diamond in the rough
This is a great example of true indie film success. A film should provide you more with emotion and depth rather than story and plot (especially a nonfiction one). The performances are amazing with even the supporting cast members giving worthy performances. Most nonfiction films will just give the details of the events like a basic feature article would and just as platonic and emotionless too. This film plunges you into the hearts and minds of the boys who would go on to become some of the most important figures of their time. This film is definitely meaningful despite the fact that most people haven't seen it. I only found it on demand luckily for me. It is worth the watch all the way. It will speak so strongly on an emotional level and you will definitely forget that Harry Potter is there. I would recommend this to anyone who is hungry for strong storytelling.