The film is a dramatic whole, not just some ragtag retelling of a bit of lit history. John Krokidas, who directed and co-wrote the movie, takes a few liberties with history, increasing Ginsberg's importance in the plot. The strategy is effective, as is the casting. In their supporting roles, Huston and Foster as Kerouac and Burroughs are superior to almost all their myriad interpreters. Radcliffe pulls off a convincing Ginsberg, transforming from a shy, nerdy Jewish kid to a Whitmanesque wild man. And DeHaan possesses Carr's beauty and charisma, which inspired these soon-to-be-famous authors. The overall effect of the casting and the plot's history-tweaking, then, shows how-despite their strong, even egocentric personalities-the Beats were essential to one another, playing off each others' ideas like the jazz combos they loved.