With the relatively mediocre success of the Beat films HOWL (2010, Werc Werk Works) and ON THE ROAD (2012, American Zoetrope), one becomes curious whether or not Beat films have any strength to make a real impact on American cinema. Success is certainly a debatable topic, especially if a film offers the talents of renowned actors and directors. But it is box office sales, strong marketing, well-received distribution and other factors that shape the bigger scope of cinematic success.
Despite all the challenges, two Beat films are now released nationwide, and they’re both deeply important for both Beat aficionados and novices alike. Take the new release of KILL YOUR DARLINGS, starring Daniel Radcliffe, Dane DeHaan, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Ben Foster, and others. It chronicles the events surrounding the 1944 murder of David Kammerer by Lucien Carr. Here, we see the seminal Beats before stardom, before they published their timeless canons. To some extent, this film may also be viewed as being very loosely based on the co-authored novel And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks by Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs, which follows a very similar premise.
The second film, BIG SUR, based on the autobiographical novel of the same title, was also penned by Kerouac. This Beat film boasts a strong cast composed of the likes of Jean-Marc Barr, Josh Lucas, Anthony Edwards, Kate Bosworth, Balthazar Getty, and beyond. With BIG SUR, we see an older Kerouac coming to grips with his existence, his literary legacy, and his inner tussles. Kerouac takes a few separate retreats to a cabin in Big Sur, where he searches for answers to his life’s queries.
We will soon see whether or not these two Beat films make a strong mark on American cinema, or if they’ll trend down the already well-worn path of mediocrity where HOWL and ON THE ROAD both jogged, stumbled, fell, and somehow barely managed to get back up again.
However, one thing is plain: Beat’s not dead. Nope!
Copyright © 2013, Tony R. Rodriguez, Examiner.com