Daniel Radcliffe as a Gay Man Leaves Harry Potter Far Behind

https://www.theblot.com/daniel-radcliffe-gay-man-leaves-harry-potter-far-behind-777515

DANIEL RADCLIFFE AS A GAY MAN LEAVES HARRY POTTER FAR BEHIND

Kill Your Darlings,” is based on a true story about a 1944 love triangle between Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe), Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan) and Carr’s spurned ex-lover David Kammerer (Michael C. Hall). The story has all the right ingredients: murder, obsession, homophobia, and it’s told by talented actors. Like Beat writing, though, the movie needed an editor. It’s a bit all over the place. Its originality and moving parts, however, earned it Official Selection at the Sundance, Toronto and Venice Film Festivals.

Shot in an atmospheric bronze, we see glimpses of Ginsberg’s troubled home life with his mentally ill mother (Jennifer Jason Leigh). His professor father (David Cross) urges him to accept a letter of acceptance to Columbia University. It’s there that Ginsberg meets Carr, who takes the innocent newbie on New York City night journeys through drugs, alcohol and jazz clubs that he dubs “Allen in Wonderland.” The keywords for this flick are a long list including Beat poetry, gay sex, jail, sociopathy — all fascinating stuff.

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Through Carr, Ginsberg is introduced to William Burroughs (Ben Foster) — who is lying fully clothed in a bathtub while sucking down nitrous oxide. Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston) is also part of the gang. We get glimpses of his girlfriend Edie Parker, played by an underused Elizabeth Olsen. All of the women have tiny parts, including Kyra Sedgwick as Lucien Carr’s mother.

Some of the casting is questionable. While it’s great to see Harry Potter growing into a blossoming gay man and changing the literary world, it’s almost impossible to forget you’re watching Daniel Radcliffe. Most of us think of Ginsberg as balding, bearded and bespectacled. If you google photos of the poet in college, you do get a glimpse of the leaner, younger man, but still, the pretty and delicately boned Radcliffe seems an odd choice. Jack Huston is terribly miscast — he lacks the charisma-on-amphetamines personality of Kerouac.

This is really DeHaan’s movie. Watching him inhale the dark spots of Chelsea and Greenwich Village in search of rebellion and decadence is seductive. Ginsberg first meets the lithe, blond Carr standing on a library desk reciting shocking — for 1944 — sexual writings by Henry Miller. Ginsberg is hooked at first sight. Many may not know that it was Carr who came up with the “New Vision,” a literary movement aimed at turning conformity inside out and upside down. It was Carr’s idea that led to what became the Beats.

One of the great scenes in the film is this group of trailblazers breaking into the Columbia library one night and tossing classic books aside, replacing them with previously tucked away erotic art books and brazen works by Henry Miller, James Joyce and D. H. Lawrence.

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Carr’s ideas were grand, but he lacked the writing skill to pull them off. He needed people, like his ex Kammerer who is manipulated into writing school papers. Now Carr needs Ginsberg’s writing talent to be his voice. Kammerer warns Ginsberg about Carr, but he appears as nothing more than a bitter man who can’t let go of the much younger Carr. As the plot unfolds, Ginsberg begins to see the way Carr uses people.

Ginsberg becomes disgusted when Carr wants him to write a heterosexual defense statement to blame the murder of Kammerer on the homosexual’s obsession. “Kill Your Darlings” gives you much to think about and it’s filled with scenes of passion and suspense. The title, of course, comes from the William Faulkner quote, “In writing, you must kill all your darlings.” A delicious play on words.

“Kill Your Darlings” opens Oct. 16, 2013. Biography, drama, romance, thriller. Rated R. 104 minutes.

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