There’s a reason why the Beat Generation never inspired a movie that’s as good as the literature it created, and it’s sadly reiterated by John Krokidas’s Kill Your Darlings.
Beat lit was made to thwart convention, sentiment and by-the-book storytelling, but that’s exactly the stuff of which most movies are made. If you wanted to make a film that reflected what this postwar American cultural revolution was about, it would look more like an experimental art movie than this tale of Allen Ginsberg In Love, a pretty good alternative title for Kill Your Darlings.
Unfolding in the earth tones of a college coming-of-age movie, and starring Daniel Radcliffe as Ginsberg, the deeply closeted young college freshman, Kill Your Darlings suggests Ginsberg’s epic poem Howl would not have been written had he not fallen for the dangerously attractive Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan).
Even if that were true, it adds nothing to our understanding of Howl, and the movie is exactly what the poem isn’t: ordinary.