Thinking of the Beat Generation, a few things come to mind: unreserved sexuality, rejection of literary traditions, drug experimentation…and murder? In Kill Your Darlings, director John Krokidas’ first full-length feature film, we get the story of the murder of David Kammerer by Lucien Carr just outside Columbia University in Riverside Park. It is also at Columbia that Carr and Ginsberg meet Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs to form the first wave of the Beat Generation, a moniker coined by Kerouac himself.
Burroughs was introduced to the group by David Kammerer, who had met Carr at a youth group in St. Louis where Kammerer was a professor and the older man had become infatuated. Though they continued to interact over the years Carr did not return the sentiment. Kill Your Darlings depicts the conflict between them reaching a head with an altercation in 1944, which Boroughs and Kerouac helped cover up, until Carr turned himself in. The film also delves into the relationship between Carr and Ginsberg, and the influences that propelled the Beat movement.
The film stars Daniel Radcliffe as Allen Ginsberg and Dane DeHaan as Lucien Carr, who become fast friends in their first year at Columbia University. The supporting cast includes: Michael C. Hall, Elizabeth Olsen, Ben Foster, David Cross and Jennifer Jason Leigh. There will be a limited release in the U.S. on October 18, 2013.
Read a more in-depth look at the murder of David Kammerer by Lucien Carr here.