Saturday, 19 July 2014

Kill Your Darlings

I'm all kinds of mega-hungover so I do apologise if this post isn't quite up to scratch, but please do cut me some slack.

Kill Your Darlings (2013) Poster
Again with the two faces.

Oh boy. Where to start?
The film is quite the mess. 

"A murder in 1944 draws together the great poets of the beat generation: Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs."

There's something a little off-beat about this beat generation film - ba-dun-dun-chh! Terrible puns aside though, this was a very peculiar film to say the least. It felt like a very specific film that director John Krokidas knew precisely what he wanted to make - and then failed at it entirely. I could see what he was aiming for, the troubled artists smoking endless arrays of cigarettes, inhaling and injecting any drugs they can get their hands on, franticly typing away at typewriters trying to churn out "something beautiful" whilst one of these soundtracks play in the background - upbeat jazz, soulful blues or weirdly out of place modern music. Want to know how it turned out? Exactly as it sounds, pretentious as fuck.

Kill your darling film 2013 oasis in this wasteland gif
Please just...stop. Talking. Forever.
There are exactly 0.5 likeable characters in this film. I say 0.5 because Radcliffes character of Alan Ginsberg is probably the least detestable character - hell, he even has some moments where I wasn't actively rooting against him! But the rest of the characters are pretty damned unlikeable. Like DeHaan's portrayal of Lucien Carr. Every time he opened his mouth I wanted to roll my eyes and sigh and infinite sigh. Like, okay, I get that he is meant to be a great thinker and an unstoppable creative force and a deep soul of touching poetry and manic genius and oh my god can he speak one sentence that doesn't sound like he is reciting it from a random instagram picture with an "inspiring" hashtag.

The first half of the film came off like a mad scramble to get the characters to where they needed to be. All guns a-blazin', the characters were wafted in front of the audiences faces, giving us the briefest taste of who they were, before squeezing them into the boxes in which they would reside for the rest of the film, desperately trying to give off the illusion of development. Everything happens so quickly that it definitely felt rushed. It's eager to get started with the drug taking and rhythmic typing of typewriters and booze and sex; to begin pulling in and out of focus of distressed looking apartments with peeling wallpaper. Not that there's anything wrong with this look, it's just that it's everything we've already seen before. Also, a great tension of the film that could've turned out to be an interesting twist was given away in the first shot. Sure, it works in some cases, a film shows its hand straight off the bat and the audience is left yearning to know how it all happened, but this film certainly didn't pull it off. The murder is treated as a distant after-thought, as the film dedicates itself to a display of male bravado and discovery of sexuality.

Kill your darlings film 2013 daniel radcliffe table slap gif
This is the pace of the start of the film.
Style is definitely prioritised over substance. Which kind of pays off because, at the very least, it looks good. Despite the manic pacing of the first act of the film, there are numerous sequences that demonstrate its ability to put together a nicely shot, nicely paced, nicely edited scene. Aesthetically, it is enjoyable, but for a feature film, that isn't enough. Fans of the film will be overwhelmed with the choice of pretty looking screen shots when they inevitably take to creating fan-posters, shipping-gifsets, etc. and posting them on tumblr

The acting isn't awful. It was interesting to see Radcliffe post-Potter as I think this is the first film I've watched where is isn't the magical boy wizard and I think he (kind of) manages to hold his own. I didn't hate his character, so that's saying something, I guess. I'd seen DeHaan once before in the 2012 sci-fi thriller Chronicle and I thought he wasn't bad. He seems to be appearing is a lot more films at an increasing rate, so I expect to see him more in the future, but in this film, I wasn't sold. I'm not sure if it's the fault of the direction and the script that DeHaan received in order to play his character or the way that DeHaan chose to play Lucien, but good lord, I really did not like his character in the slightest.

I don't really have much to say about this film. It's pretty solidly 'meh'.

Lisa the simpsons ehh screenshot
You said it, sistah.
Look, I'm not going to actively advise you to avoid this film. It's watchable; for the most part. Stick it on in the background whilst you do something significantly more important, like clipping your toenails or possibly painting a self portrait. Just be sure to leave it on silent though, cause the pretentiousness does get a bit much at times.

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