The year is 1971 and controversial British artist Francis Bacon (Derek Jacobi) is welcomed as the 'greatest living painter’ by officials and the press at the Grand Palais in Paris. As the ceremony takes place, George Dyer (Daniel Craig), Bacon’s model and lover of seven years, takes a cocktail of pills and alcohol in their hotel room. Slumping into blackness, Dyer recalls the fateful day in 1964 when he attempts to burgle Bacon’s house, but meets Bacon instead. From then on his life takes on an entirely different course. A powerful and dangerous relationship develops between the flamboyant artist and the man who becomes his lover and the model for some of his most intense and celebrated paintings.
 

4.5
A truly moving experience, John Maybury skillfully captured the complex nature of Francis Bacon.

John Maybury`s Love is the Devil, about the great twentieth century artist Francis Bacon and his lover and muse George Dyer, a petty thief from the East End. Bacon actually meets Dyer when he falls into his studio with intent to burgle. \"Take your clothes off\" he says, and George does. But Bacon the artist and the man are complex, intelligent and cruel. Dyer becomes the subject of some of Bacon`s most famous paintings and he also becomes a subject in life, his only revenge the sado-masochistic sex they share. This is London in the swinging sixties, but Bacon`s world is that of the demi-monde, a dark bohemian world of intellectuals and artists... Tilda Swinton plays Muriel Belcher, the doyenne of the Colony Room, the Soho Club frequented by Bacon - Swinton was very pregnant at the time with twins.

John Maybury whose first real feature film this is hasn`t used any of Bacon`s art, instead he`s created the feeling of his art in the film`s imagery, in its distortions of the human form, and in the lighting. Derek Jacobi plays Bacon brilliantly, he looks so like the real person - Bacon died only in 1992 before development of this film really started. Daniel Craig is also wonderful as Dyer, he doesn`t say a lot in the film but his body is important in the art, and his body language speaks volumes about his disintegration as a person, simultaneously at the core of, and at the fringe of, the life of this monumental artist. This is obviously not a popcorn film but as a serious piece of cinematic art I think it`s stunning.