KILL YOUR DARLINGS
hopscotchee: daniel radcliffe score: 48.5 rating: R time: 104 minutes
depicting the lives of a group of college students who are pursuing their careers as young poets in the 1940s, kill your darlings follows the story behind the american poet, allen ginsberg, as he takes on the conventional literary ideas of the time, alongside lucien carr, william w. burroughs, and jack kerouac, during the beat generation. yet even though this plot may hook the hearts of literary lovers, the orchestration of the piece altogether lacked a bit of coherent calculation.
to begin, the main dilemma with this movie was the result of its two conflicting plots: (spoiler) (1) allen's distaste for colombia university's traditional teachings, that leads him to lucien's path and a series of rebellious decisions, and (2). . . .how to put it. . . . the movie's murder. as you can see, in just the writing of it alone, these two plots are quite drastic from one another. now, though this severity could've potentially led to enticing escalation that puts the viewer on the edge of their seat (for instance, the way the plot in the 2020 mystery/thriller, don't tell a soul, appropriately intensified, keeping the audience truly gobsmacked with their jaws hanging to the floor - even with ten minutes left of the entire thing), the delivery of the plot in kill your darlings lacked the surprise for shock, mostly due to the choice to incorporate a (spoiler) flashfoward at the beginning, teasing lucien in jail but also giving it away. and though, yes, the 'based-off-of-a-true-story' element may have you instantly fascinated to find out about the 'murderous crime' element, the movie's considerable attention to the 'university' plot line leaves this instant draw to see 'the true story about a murder' misleading and the audience displeased.
continuing, another hot-n'-cold aspect in this movie came from its editing, specifically the editing of the bar scene sequence. while the fast editing montage was fun and charming to the eye, giving the movie motion, consequentially, its quickness and eventual lack of dialogue resulted in making 'assuming jumps', where the audience was supposed to just 'follow along'. paired with the difficult storylines, this can cause the audience to abruptly be left behind, wondering 'what is happening'. for example, going back to the bar scene sequence, it initially pulled you in with its swanky music and correlation to allen and lucien's literary exploration, but as the montage (and its pace) increased, the actions from the characters got jumpy - going from (spoiler) the drugs and lack of class attendance to suddenly the boys ripping up paper from books - and then immediately switching back to the bar with allen not looking/feeling well. like, what were you supposed to get from that? -- all around chaos? just frantic behaviors emerging from their inspiration? their erupting pandemonium from literary revelations? or was it the consequences of experimental drugs? (????) maybe it was a bit of all, but whatever it was intended to be, it's unclear to tell. and though we understand that movies don't need to always hold the hand of their audience, without the direction in this case, the audience is truly out on their own guessing, cumulating more confusion.
this all said, one positive accomplishment in this film was that you kinda got a break from its puzzlement when the lovely mrs. elizabeth olsen entered the screen. now, most can agree that, whether they have known her all the way back from 'b-u-t-t out' (an iconic song from the tv series the adventures of mary-kate and ashley) or not, they are a fan of mrs. elizabeth and enjoy her work as an actress. rightfully so, her role in kill your darlings was certainly a delight, as her performance, displaying a housewife (who is definitely suited for more) disapproving of her husband's actions and behaviors, curates, not only, a picante and conflicting character dynamic in the movie, but it also helped the story 'reset' itself, leaving time for the audience to catch up on what was going on alongside elizabeth's amazing and eye-candy acting as edie parker. that being said, though responsibly portraying sexist gender roles of the '40s with powerful dialogue from elizabeth olsen's character, putting in place her misogynistic husband's stupid, stereotypical beliefs, the storyline, to some, may feel like another div-it from the plot.
in essence, it is hard to say whether or not this movie would've landed clearer if one had prior knowledge about this story, however to the blind eye, kill your darlings lacked cohesive pacing to craft an informative and enticing viewing.
-- thanks, daniel xo