This British biographical drama probes the life of painter Francis Bacon (1909-1992), critically acclaimed as the outstanding British painter of the latter half of the 20th Century.
This unsympathetic portrait of Bacon (Derek Jacobi) begins when George Dyer (Daniel Craig), a small-time criminal from working-class East End environs, drops through a skylight to rob Bacon's studio -- and is ordered into bed by Bacon. The two become a familiar couple at Bacon's hangout, the Colony Room in Soho.
Bacon's sexual interests lean toward S&M, but as the cruel Bacon loses interest in Dyer and begins to look elsewhere, the couple splits. Left to his own devices, Dyer turns to drugs and alcohol -- and a tragic suicide.
Visual grotesqueries and a trancelike Ryuichi Sakamoto music score capture the essence of Bacon's work (although paintings by Bacon are not seen onscreen here).
The film is told in the form of a flashback from Bacon's successful 1971 retrospective at the Grand Palais in Paris to a period in the mid-'60s. Bacon biographer Daniel Farson (The Gilded Gutter Life of Francis Bacon) served as consultant on the film.