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)
Jack Kerouac, upon his arrest, contacts his father and we hear an American accent on the line. Kerouac's parents were French-speaking Quebecois and it took Jack until his late teens to fully master English, which he spoke with a slight Québec lilt; it is thus unlikely his father and he would have spoken in English, much less in a General American accent. See more »
[reading his poem]
Be careful, you are not in Wonderland. I've heard the strange madness long growing in your soul, in your isolation but you fortunate in your ignorance. You who have suffered find where love hides, give, share, lose, lest we die unbloomed.
Allen, that was beautiful, kid.
You wrote that?
You asked me to.
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The first part of the end credits run over the top of photographs of the real Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Lucien Carr and William S. Burroughs. 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.
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