6.4/10
3,107
43 user 58 critic

Love Is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon (1998)

Unrated | | Biography, Drama, Romance | 7 October 1998 (USA)
Biography of British painter Francis Bacon focuses on his relationship with his lover, George Dyer, a former small time crook.

Director:

John Maybury

Writer:

John Maybury
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From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
7 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Derek Jacobi ... Francis Bacon
Daniel Craig ... George Dyer
Tilda Swinton ... Muriel Belcher
Anne Lambton ... Isabel Rawsthorne
Adrian Scarborough ... Daniel Farson
Karl Johnson ... John Deakin
Annabel Brooks Annabel Brooks ... Henrietta Moraes
Richard Newbould Richard Newbould ... Blonde Billy (as Richard Newbold)
Ariel de Ravenel Ariel de Ravenel ... French Official
Tallulah Tallulah ... Ian Board
Andy Linden Andy Linden ... Ken Bidwell
David Kennedy ... Joe Furneval
Gary Hume Gary Hume ... Volker Dix
Damian Dibben ... Brighton Rent Boys
Antony Cotton ... Brighton Rent Boys
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Storyline

In the 1960s, British painter Francis Bacon (1909-1992) surprises a burglar and invites him to share his bed. The burglar, a working class man named George Dyer, 30 years Bacon's junior, accepts. Bacon finds Dyer's amorality and innocence attractive, introducing him to his Soho pals. In their sex life, Dyer dominates, Bacon is the masochist. Dyer's bouts with depression, his drinking and pill popping, and his satanic nightmares strain the relationship, as does his pain with Bacon's casual infidelities. Bacon paints, talks with wit, and, as Dyer spins out of control, begins to find him tiresome. Could Bacon care less? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Study for a portrait of Francis Bacon.


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Strand Releasing

Country:

UK | France | Japan | USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

7 October 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Love Is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£46,077 (United Kingdom), 20 September 1998, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$63,202, 11 October 1998, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$343,023, 19 December 1999
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Malcolm McDowell was once interest for the part of Francis Bacon. See more »

Quotes

Francis Bacon: [Opening line] Like a bomb exploding in reverse. Thoughts, ideas... fragments of images. Shards of memory, like shrapnel, all come back to me, and are forced back out in a cruel pastiche of experience.
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Connections

Features Battleship Potemkin (1925) See more »

Soundtracks

Isn't It a Happy Day
Performed by The Ragamuffin Syncopators
Written by Erich Börschel (as E. Borschel)
courtesy Bosworth & Company Limited
See more »

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User Reviews

Dark and bizarre, like Bacon's world itself
24 August 2007 | by Benedict_CumberbatchSee all my reviews

This is a fearless, eerie film about the relationship between British painter Francis Bacon (Derek Jacobi) and his handsome, unsophisticated lover George Dyer (the new James Bond, Daniel Craig). The destructive affair is told from Bacon's and Dyer's perspectives with unsettling images strongly directed by John Maybury. Their story is somewhat like Joe Orton and Kenneth Halliwell's (told by Stephen Frears in "Prick Up Your Ears"), and the emotional bond between the intellectual artist and the rustic lover reminds me of Truman Capote and Perry Smith (coincidentally, Daniel Craig played Smith in "Infamous") - except that "Love is the Devil" is visceral, surreal and dark like Francis Bacon's world was, and Bennett Miller's acclaimed "Capote", a good, albeit overrated, film with a spectacular performance by Philip Seymour Hoffman, was more concerned about being elegant and palatable than being closer to the truth. Bacon and Capote were talented, troubled men, with huge ego issues, who were partly responsible for their respective lover's (Dyer)/ protégé's/victim? (Smith) ruin - and, later, for their own.

Had John Maybury been like Bennett Miller and turned Bacon's life into an 'elegant' flick, we'd have an Oscar contender here; thankfully he did not, and we got a brave little film that is hard to watch because it's such a visceral painting of an unsettling world. Jacobi and Craig are phenomenal, and the always fantastic Tilda Swinton has a small part as one of Bacon's friends. Well done, Mr. Maybury. 8/10.


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