Even though it's slightly too mannered, this true drama takes a clever approach to the beat poets long before they were famous. It's also packed with shocking twists and unnerving details that help us get emotionally involved in the story. And while the complexity of the approach kind of leaves us on the outside, sensitive performances help us see beneath the surface.

Set in 1943, the film centres on Allen Ginsburg (Radcliffe), who has been encouraged by his poet father (Cross) and needy mother (Leigh) to attend Columbia in New York. There he befriends the transgressive writer Lucien Carr (DeHaan), whose secret mentor-boyfriend David (Hall) is actually writing his coursework. Through Lucien, Allen is introduced to the druggy lifestyle of intense artist William Burroughs (Foster) and rugged womaniser Jack Kerouac (Huston). And together they decide to change the world. Then a shocking murder alters the dynamic between these young men.

The film's title is age-old advice to artists: you have to get rid of the people closest to you if you want to truly express yourself. And of course the fatal plot twist is an ironic exploration of this idea, as the film delves into shadowy corners of artistic anarchy, drug use and sexuality. (Radcliffe's notorious gay sex scene is strikingly well-played and pivotal in Allen's journey.) Filmmaker Kokidas infuses each scene with dark artistry: the actors look achingly cool even when they're wallowing in a trashy, immaculately production-designed drug den.

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