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Review: Kill Your Darlings

Ken Korman says the latest movie about the Beat Generation is a middling historical drama

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There's been no shortage of movies about the Beat Generation in recent years. Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs and their friends mounted a literary revolution in the 1950s and ushered in a new era of youth culture that continues to this day. Kill Your Darlings adds a little-known chapter to their story by focusing on a murder that involved Lucien Carr, Ginsberg's charismatic classmate at Columbia University. Making his feature film debut, co-writer and director John Krokidas has some difficulty reconciling that lurid side story with the larger tale of the Beats' early literary adventures and the real-life experiences that inspired them. The result is a middling historical drama that's fairly engaging but ultimately less than satisfying. Daniel Radcliffe (star of the Harry Potter movies) is a revelation as the young Ginsberg, and strong work in supporting roles comes from Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Ben Foster and others. But mostly they seem stuck on a temporary detour from the main road of cultural history.

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