Beat is a 2000 American drama film written and directed by Gary Walkow, concerning the period of writer William S. Burroughs's life that he spent with his wife, the late Joan Vollmer, leading up to her accidental murder in 1951.
The film stars Kiefer Sutherland as Burroughs, Courtney Love as Joan, Norman Reedus as Lucien Carr, and Ron Livingston as Allen Ginsberg. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2000 and was entered into the 22nd Moscow International Film Festival.
The film opens with Vollmer balancing a water tumbler on her head as Burroughs, her husband, aims a gun at her as she entices him to shoot her. The film then cuts to Joan and Burroughs in the months prior in Mexico City, as Burroughs is leaving on a trip to Guatemala to meet his male lover, Lee. Joan, despondent to William's affair and his disinterest in her, is left to take care of their two children while he goes on his vacation.