In the early 1940s, Allen Ginsberg is an English major at Columbia University, only to learn more than he bargained for. Dissatisfied by the orthodox attitudes of the school, Allen finds himself drawn to iconoclastic colleagues like Lucien Carr, William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac. Together, this gang would explore bold new literary ideas that would challenge the sensibilities of their time as the future Beat Generation. However, for all their creativity, their very appetites and choices lead to more serious transgressions that would mark their lives forever. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Columbia University library tour guide proudly identifies a book as a first folio edition of "Hamlet." There is no such edition. "Hamlet" was published in quarto editions (half the size of folio) during Shakespeare's life. The only folio editions of Shakespeare's work were the posthumous collections of his complete plays. See more »
John Krokidas' film explores the early life of Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe), and how he came into contact with Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan), Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston), and William Burroughs (Ben Foster). Through their association the ideas of the Beat Generation were born. The film starts off very promisingly, depicting Ginsberg's early life at home in Paterson, New Jersey, and his subsequent career at Columbia University. We understand something of he and his friends wanted to rebel against established conventions - not only literary but societal conventions. The 'official' view, as propounded by Professor Stevens (John Cullum) seems stuffy and old-fashioned. As the action progresses, however, so the film's priorities become diluted; rather than focusing on the genesis of the Beats, the action concentrates instead on the complex love-triangle involving Lucien, Allen and David Kammerer (Michael C. Hall). We are given the distinct suggestion all of three of them are emotionally immature, which thereby reduces the significance of their 'rebellion.' Matters are not helped by Radcliffe's rather colorless performance as Ginsberg - his expressions rarely change from being rather bemused as what's happening around him. A brave attempt at recreating the values of a previous generation, but the director seems to lose the courage of his convictions.
21 of 27 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?