Daniel Radcliffe is the primary reason to see 'Kill Your Darlings'

'Kill Your Darlings' is too stage-y but Radcliffe, playing Allen Ginsberg, is the best thing about the movie.

Clay Enos/Sony Picture Classics
'Kill Your Darlings' stars Ben Foster (l.) as William Burroughs, Daniel Radcliffe (c.) as Allen Ginsberg, and Dane DeHaan (r.) as Lucien Carr.

Daniel Radcliffe’s performance as the young Columbia undergrad Allen Ginsberg is the best reason to see “Kill Your Darlings,” a sordid Beat Generation true-crime drama set in 1944. His Ginsberg, a very tentative iconoclast, is about as far removed from Harry Potter as you can get. (Harry and Ginsberg both wear glasses, that’s about it.)

The crime is the murder of David Kammerer (Michael C. Hall), an old friend of William Burroughs (Ben Foster), by Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan), a Columbia student who is fond of reciting Henry Miller from atop his classroom desk. Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston) shows up, of course. What would a Beat movie be without him?

Director and co-writer John Krokidas doesn’t have a very fluent gift for period re-creation – everything seems stagy – and most of the actors, playing divas of various stripes, overact. Grade: C+ (Rated R for sexual content, language, drug use, and brief violence.)

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