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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
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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Never quite rises above the callousness of its subject
Francis Bacon was one of the most acclaimed artists of his generation, and Derek Jacobi is one of the finest actors of his, but even this combination can't make 'Love is the Devil', John Maybury's biopic of Bacon's life, especially interesting. The problem is that the film lacks a central point of sympathy: Bacon comes across as selfish and spoilt, while his hapless lover (the film's other central character) is too clearly out of his depth from the start, and never manages to become someone in whom one can invest any hopes. In terms of its overall feel, the film tries to reflect Bacon's artistic sensibility; in this it is partially successful, although the odd decision to fade to black between practically every scene grows tiresome. Unless you're a particular fan of Bacon, you can afford to miss this film: Stephen Frears' 'Prick Up Your Ears' (a biopic of Joe Orton) explores similar themes with more humanity.
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