Love Is the Devil – Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon

Maybury's film about Francis Bacon (Jacobi) focuses on the slow but inexorable downward spiral of his seven-year relationship with his lover, model and muse George Dyer (Craig), a smalltime villain whom the painter first met burgling his house. It's the tale of a charged but uncomfortable encounter, not only between two very different personalities, but between two different (but both very English) worlds: the arty, boozy Soho set and, ironically rather less amoral and more sympathetic, the East End criminal fraternity. At its heart is a raw, painful, even cruel love affair based on dominance, submission, snobbery and sadism, which is brought vividly to life by images often (but never excessively) reminiscent of Bacon's paintings. The performances are terrific, with Jacobi particularly astonishing as Bacon.

Release details

Duration: 91 mins

Cast and crew

Director: John Maybury
Screenwriter: John Maybury, James Cohen, Don Jordan
Cast: Derek Jacobi
Daniel Craig
Tilda Swinton
Anne Lambton
Annabel Brooks
LiveReviews|2
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Cindy

I accidentally stumbled upon this film on the net, and it was very late when I watched it. Yet, I have to admit, it was stunning as it was disturbing likewise. The plot seemed to jump from closeups of the main characters to dream sequences and vice versa. It almost gave me the feeling like watching a (horror)trip. The plot was mainly narrated through those pictures, there wasn't much talking in the movie. I truly liked the way the actors depicted the characters, you could really feel with them, regardless of the changing and therefore slightly puzzling settings. It was not clear from the beginning who had which position in this somewhat bizarre relationship but it became clearer through the film. Jacobi as the "sadistic", brilliant (and imho crazy) artist and Craig as the shy, timid, burglar showed very vividly how a relationship between two people can go so very wrong with fatal consequences. The most interesting thing was that the cliche wich comes to mind almost instantly, was not fulfilled. It seemed rather converted into the very opposite. One thing being that at the end I hated the artist with all I had and felt strong sympathy and affection for the burglar.. I definitely have to watch it again, because I think I missed so many details in it!

Cindy

I accidentally stumbled upon this film on the net, and it was very late when I watched it. Yet, I have to admit, it was stunning as it was disturbing likewise. The plot seemed to jump from closeups of the main characters to dream sequences and vice versa. It almost gave me the feeling like watching a (horror)trip. The plot was mainly narrated through those pictures, there wasn't much talking in the movie. I truly liked the way the actors depicted the characters, you could really feel with them, regardless of the changing and therefore slightly puzzling settings. It was not clear from the beginning who had which position in this somewhat bizarre relationship but it became clearer through the film. Jacobi as the "sadistic", brilliant (and imho crazy) artist and Craig as the shy, timid, burglar showed very vividly how a relationship between two people can go so very wrong with fatal consequences. The most interesting thing was that the cliche wich comes to mind almost instantly, was not fulfilled. It seemed rather converted into the very opposite. One thing being that at the end I hated the artist with all I had and felt strong sympathy and affection for the burglar.. I definitely have to watch it again, because I think I missed so many details in it!