LOVE IS THE DEVIL
Like Prick Up Your Ears, this biopic of a famous artist is far more interested in the artist’s relatively little-known, long-suffering boyfriend. And why not? In both stories, the untalented partners of genius were, inadvertently, everything their partners tried to capture artistically and it’s a little difficult to work out just who was whose muse.
Daniel Craig plays George Dyer, a petty crim who crashes through the roof of Bacon’s studio in a botched break in. Up for an adventure as usual, Bacon greets his intruder with an invitation to come to bed. They’re inseparable from then on, Bacon becoming increasingly rich and famous, Dyer spiralling into inadequacy and addiction. In the bedroom, Dyer enjoys an illusion of agency wielding cigarette butts and his cock (seen from overhead in the bathtub scene, picture above), but socially, Bacon leaves Dyer to drink himself to tears with rent boys and whoever else will listen.
John Maybury has used Bacon’s art as inspiration for the nightmarish look of the film, and in some scenes, has copied directly from certain triptychs and paintings. Bacon’s take on Dyer’s suicide is recreated almost exactly, and the numerous dream sequences involving human figures roasting on spits are straight from the Bacon’s canvasses.