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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Love Is The Devil (1998)

The acclaimed painter Francis Bacon (Derek Jacobi) catches a young burglar (Daniel Craig) breaking into his studio. They become lovers but it's a tempestuous relationship. Bacon is rather bitchy and narcissistic and not always kind while the tough thief feels uncomfortable in the artistic circle of his lover as they barely hide their feelings of superiority. The young man starts to drink heavily, take drugs and unravels. Based on Daniel Farson's biography of Bacon, THE GILDED GUTTER LIFE OF FRANCIS BACON, the film's portrayal of Bacon is merciless and highly unflattering. While Jacobi's performance is just fine, his Bacon is a turn off so whatever sympathies one has goes to Craig's rough street thief who finds himself a fish out of water among the pretentious artsy circle of his lover. Speaking of pretentious, the director John Maybury and his cinematographer John Mathieson (GLADIATOR) shoot their film through a haze of twisted reflections, blurred slow motion and dark angles so that we can only guess at what's going on. The underscore, what there is of it, by Ryuichi Sakamoto (THE LAST EMPEROR) is a disappointment. With Tilda Swinton in one of her rare poor performances.

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