Okay, those of you who know me by now, knows that this is a movie I had to watch. Two reasons. Allen Ginsberg is a name I have come across a lot in the music part of my life. And Daniel Radcliffe, playing Ginsberg, used to be Harry Potter, and since I am a fantasy writer, this seemed like a perfect make up for me.
Okay, and thirdly, Ginsberg was gay. Which means that there would have to be gay scenes with Radcliffe… yep, it sure was a movie I had to watch.
I really wanted it to be a good movie. Maybe I had too high expectations for it. Thing is though, it felt like it wasn’t Ginsberg at all, the movie was about.
Allen Ginsberg meets this young man, Lucien Carr, at the university, and almost from scene one, Lucien is a much more interesting character. Through most of the movie, you wonder if the script writer really wanted to tell the story of Lucien Carr instead, because that is mostly what he is doing, while Allen Ginsberg fades into the background in most scenes, and not due to lack of acting from Radcliffe’s side. He is actually really good in this movie, much better than he was in the Harry Potter movies, no offence. He just doesn’t get fair screen time, considering that he is the character you are supposed to be interested in, feel for, and want to hear about. And when he does get screen time, he feels like he is intruding in the story of Lucien Carr.
Most of the time, you wonder where this movie is going. I mean, the ending, and the murder is kind of spoiled in the opening scene, which takes a lot of the excitement away, right from the get go. So, Lucien is going to kill David Kammerer at some point, we all know that. I was kind of hoping for them to kill him fast and let the movie be about getting away with it. Anything that would make me want to keep watching it. Anything that would bring back the unexpected element into the story.
Truth is, the movie doesn’t really go anywhere. It starts with a foreshadowing of a murder, you go back in time a bit, do a bunch of drugs, act out, make out, and then David Kammerer is killed. At no point, truly, do you get the idea that Allen Ginsberg wants to be a poet, for instance. Sure, you are told that he wants to be a writer, but it plays such a small part in the movie, it is easy to miss. Only in the very last line of the movie, do they add it, as a sort of afterthought. Oh, by the way, I’m a poet.
Yeah okay, here I was, thinking you were a love sick teenage boy who wanted to excuse your lover, and help him get away with a rather cruel murder. My bad…
That is a weak part as well. At the time when Lucien is arrested, you kind of want to excuse him, because he is this perfect bad boy and you don’t, as a viewer, want to see him end up in jail. Once you are told how the murder was committed though, how premeditated and cruel it was done, you start thinking that he should be left in jail forever and no matter how much Allen is in love with him, there is simply no excusing it.
I would like to point out that I don’t know the real story, only what is told in the movie, but that does not work for me at all. No matter how in love you are, you cannot possibly be that blind.
Now, the sex scene. Yes, there is a gay sex scene. All of you who have been making and watching the Brokeback Hogwards video’s on you.tube for years, you won’t be disappointed… Still, it kind of feels out of place and could have easily been left out. In fact, I think the story would have worked much better for me, if they had not had sex… It ruins some of the beauty of the love Allen feels for Lucien, because it was always pretty one sided, and maybe it should have stayed that way.
So, should you watch it?
Depends… How many of the Brokeback Hogwards videos have you watched? Because if you always hoped that Harry Potter was secretly gay, then hurry up and watch it.
If not though, I would hesitate to recommend it. It is beautifully shot, the actors are great, but he story telling is lacking for me, and that is just such a huge part of a movie. It doesn’t work the way it could have. The way, I had hoped it would.
After all, this is Allen Ginsberg we are talking about. There has to be something interesting to say about him, right?