Saturday, 14 December 2013

REVIEW - KILL YOUR DARLINGS


An intolerable film becomes a tolerable one, and that's pretty much that. John Krokidas' rather precious film about the birth of the Beat Generation plays up to all the affected stereotypes one might dread in a(nother) film about this era. It would do no-one any use for me to list the multitude of ways in which Krokidas so willfully allows his film to fall afoul of cliche, so I'll only inform you that it doesn't miss a beat in surrendering to every last cliche you could conceive. When it's not busy being extremely puffed-up and pretentious about a lifestyle it intends to portray as radical but actually only portrays as twee, Kill Your Darlings is a very ordinary film. It conveys no ambition toward social nor stylistic importance, it is dully designed, languishing blandly in a make-do aesthetic with its three-walled sets and flattering cinematography. And Krokidas ambles through the story, ever on the edge of fissuring, revealing the sordid darkness beneath the flimflam with which he and his protagonists are so enamoured. But it doesn't fissure, it just melts and crumbles, having never been adequately concerned with its emotive potential to draw anything substantial out from it. And so Kill Your Darlings lolls its way to a close, now at least somewhat engaging, as adept performances ignite some small interest in the story, though whichever actors are given the time and resources to deliver impressive work are undercut in their efforts by a script and direction that would rather they reign it in, and craft something palatable for the masses. In the end, the most intolerable thing about Kill Your Darlings is that it betrays the ethos of The New Vision by accepting and thriving off formula, and by pandering to those masses.