Love Is the Devil

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Love Is the Devil ★★★½ 1998

British painter Francis Bacon (Jacobi), at the height of his career, takes on petty thief George Dyer (Craig) as his model, lover, and whipping-post. Bacon exposes his dim lover to a world of high-brow drunks and addicts who entertain themselves by humiliating others, with Bacon viciously leading the verbal and emotional attacks. Although the estate refused director/writer Maybury permission to use Bacon's actual paintings, he captures the painful emotions expressed in the art in different ways. The incredible lead performances by Jacobi and Craig are as brilliant but ferocious as the artist himself. While at times tender and moving, their destructive relationship is difficult to watch, but worth it you do. Appeal is definitely arthouse niche, but those who see it will be rewarded. 90m/C VHS, DVD . GB Derek Jacobi, Daniel Craig, Tilda Swinton, Karl Johnson, Anne Lambton; D: John Maybury; W: John Maybury; C: John Mathieson; M: Ryuichi Sakamoto.