Love is the Devil NR

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(56) IMDb 6.6/10

The searing portrait of the English painter Francis Bacon at the height of his fame in the 1960s is one of the nastiest and most truthful portraits of the artist-as-monster ever filmed.

Derek Jacobi, Daniel Craig
1 hour 28 minutes

Love is the Devil

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Gay & Lesbian
Director John Maybury
Starring Derek Jacobi, Daniel Craig
Supporting actors Tilda Swinton, Anne Lambton, Adrian Scarborough, Karl Johnson, Annabel Brooks, Richard Newbould, Ariel de Ravenel, Tallulah, Andy Linden, David Kennedy, Gary Hume, Damian Dibben, Antony Cotton, Anthony Ryding, Christian Martin, Ray Olley, Wesley Morgan, Nigel Travis
Studio Strand Releasing
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Rental rights 3-day viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Brenda Griffey on July 14, 2000
Format: DVD
John Maybury provides viewers with a creative portrayal of the English painter Francis Bacon. Bacon was fascinated with violence both in his paintings and in his personal life. This is evident from the very first scene in which Bacon confronts George Dyer, the inept burglar who has fallen into his studio. Jacobi's chilling, yet mesmerizing, portrayal of Bacon is seen as Maybury closes in on Jacobi's face as he deliciously anticipates being bedded and dominated by this strange young man. And while the film's frank portrayal of lust and sexual dominance is clearly evident it also explores the life of a man who consciously chose the dark side of life. The performances of both Jacobi and Daniel Craig, as Dyer, are outstanding as is the inventive camera work of Maybury, who mimics the surreal images of Bacon's paintings. Jacobi's performance and voice-over narration help to illuminate this disturbing and fascinating man. Disturbing because he revelled in the violence and pain that most of us abhor and fascinating because Bacon was so unabashedly honest in his approach to life and his work.
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56 of 58 people found the following review helpful By C. O. DeRiemer on May 2, 2005
Format: DVD
A thief (Daniel Craig) breaks through a skylight and lands in the middle of an artist's studio. His flashlight shows paints and brushes and canvas, and scattered thick on the floor pictures and newspaper photographs of carnage, accidents, executions. Peering at him from a slightly open door is the artist (Derek Jacobi). "Not much of a burglar, are you?" the artist says. "Take your clothes off. Come to bed. Then you can have whatever you want."

The artist is Francis Bacon, one of the great painters of the Twentieth Century. The burglar is a working class, not-too-bright man 30 years younger than Bacon named George Dyer. Love Is the Devil tells of Bacon's relationship with Dyer from 1964 until Dyer commits suicide in 1971.

People probably react to this movie much the same way they react to Bacon's paintings and his life. Fascinated or repelled. Or both. Bacon's view of life is certainly there for all to see. He was an aggressive masochist where pleasure is pain and degradation is arousal. On the way to a boxing match with George, he says that "boxing is such an aperitif for sex. Like bull fighting, it unlocks the bowels of feeling." Bacon's circle of friends are brittle, obnoxious, clever queens, whether or not they are gay. They may accept George as Francis' plaything but not as a serious lover. Bacon is aroused and energized by the perversity of life. "We all have nightmares," he says to George unsympathetically one night. "They can't be as horrific as real life." His paintings are usually grotesque manipulations of the human body, where the body can look like an opened side of beef and a face can look like its been turned inside out. One critic called him the morbid poet of the world of evil. That seems to me to be superficial and ignorant.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By H. F. Corbin TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 28, 2005
Format: DVD
One character in this film describes Francis Bacon's art as "portraitures of pain," also an apt description of this movie about the artist and his relationship with a burglar George Dyer, played by Daniel Craig, who falls into Bacon's flat from a skylight in a bungled attempt at a robbery. Completely unfazed, Bacon (Derek Jacob) informs George that if he will take off his clothes and come to bed, that he can have anything in the apartment he desires.

I know precious little about the life of Bacon; but if this movie is accurate, he was not a particularly likeable man who treats Dyer, who comes to care a great deal for him--"I love you, Francis"-- very badly. At times George is his "sorbet between courses." At other times, he banishes him from his sight.

Both actors are excellent in their roles. Jacobi actually looks like Bacon; and Craig, soon to be the new James Bond, gives a fine performance as a "tragedy waiting to happen."

John Maybury, the director, obviously wants the viewer to be reminded of Bacon's paintings since there are many distorted and fragmented shots. Additionally, many of the artist's friends from the bar have very unsymetrical faces. Bacon makes himself up in front of three mirrors. There are several shots where the characters are so close to the camera so as to give a fish-eye effect. There is also a scene where victims of an auto accident are lying in positions similar to those of figures from Bacon's art. For the most part these "portraits of pain" work.

This film is certainly worth watching.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Michael C. Smith VINE VOICE on February 24, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"LOVE IS THE DEVIL" is a study in the life of gay English painter Francis Bacon. It chronicles his life with his lover and model George Dyer. This film is as close cinematically to a Beacon painting as one could get. Jarring, disjointed, jagged and thrillingly repulsive. It demands an intelligent, and equally hip audience willing to invest in a story of great depth, pain and love. It isn't easy but it is so well worth the time it takes to enthrall.
Derek Jacoby is so engrossing as the raging queen of the art world of London in the 1960's. Bitter, biting and a bastard of epic proportions he manages a huge ego that is so layered in fortification that not many can see the wounded soft core to this man. For a while George, the big butch hunky crook who comes crashing into Francis' life, seems to penetrate to the heart of Bacon. But the psychology of this tortured artist defies love and denies what salvation might be found in the arms of the truly needy George. A great performance by one of the best actors around this is one of Jacoby's most brilliant portraits.
Then there is Daniel Craig as George. He so embraces this role as to disappear into the man so thoroughly that I forgot I was watching Daniel Craig. His George is a case of great packaging that hides a rotting lost soul bound for self-destruction as a validation of being told all his life he is worthless. This is yet another of Craig's moving, fearless performances that have made him the top star and great actor that he is today.

This film is challenging, demanding and draining, in other words a rewarding cinematic experience.
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