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.
Cast and crew
John Maybury, James Cohen, Don Jordan
Derek Jacobi Daniel Craig Tilda Swinton Anne Lambton Annabel Brooks