Sunday, September 19, 2010


Like the counterculture icon that penned the poem that serves as the title to Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman's film, “Howl” is one odd bird. The study of a young, pre-showman Allen Ginsberg — embodied by James Franco, proving once and for all he's the next Johnny Depp — and the repressive Eisenhower era he rebelled against is presented via three interweaving channels. First, there's the courtroom drama adapted from actual transcripts from the 1957 obscenity trial of publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti that the infamous book of poems sparked. Second, there's the fictional interview conducted by an unseen journalist using Ginsberg's own words. Then there's the animation of the notorious poem itself (designed by Eric Drooker, who collaborated with Ginsberg on “Illuminated Poems”). All of which gives “Howl” the look of “Good Night, and Good Luck.” meets “Waltz with Bashir.”

To read the rest of my review visit Slant Magazine.

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