Nobody needs another movie about the Beat Generation, but this debut feature by New York University graduate John Krokidas outpaces most dramatic films about Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and William S. Burroughs, pushing back the legend enough to consider them as people. Krokidas revisits the three writers’ early adventures at Columbia University—including the 1944 murder in which they were peripherally involved, when their friend Lucien Carr stabbed his former lover and dumped his body in the Hudson River. As Ginsberg, Daniel Radcliff has enough trouble just sounding American without attempting the poet’s distinctive mumble, but Ben Foster has Burroughs just right, checking the patrician Saint Louis accent and focusing instead on the man’s debilitating shyness. Of course, these virtues may pale to those interested primarily in seeing Harry Potter with his legs in the air; they will not be disappointed. The fine cast includes Dane DeHaan, Elizabeth Olsen, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and David Cross, surprisingly good as Ginsberg’s father.