HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Annette
Shepherd
Dying to Divorce
Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn
Trouble with Being Born, The
Last Matinee, The
Strings, The
Free Hand for a Tough Cop
People Just Do Nothing: Big in Japan
Dear Future Children
Accidental Luxuriance of the Translucent Watery Rebus
Swallow
Thin Red Line, The
Petite Maman
Fast & Furious 9
Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat
Sweet Thing
Maelstrom
Father, The
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Night House, The
Father of Flies
80,000 Years Old
Dead & Beautiful
Bull
Censor
Sleep
Freaky
Nightbooks
Whisker Away, A
Wild Indian
Whale Island
Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires
Don't Breathe 2
Closing Time
Cryptozoo
Weathering with You
Rim of the World
Love & Basketball
JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time
   
 
Newest Articles
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
Vestron Double Bill: Dementia 13 and The Wraith
Farewell Dean Stockwell: His Years of Weirdness
Kung Fu Craft: Cinematic Vengeance! on Blu-ray
999 Letsbe Avenue: Gideon's Way on Blu-ray
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
   
 
  Caravaggio Painterly Passions
Year: 1986
Director: Derek Jarman
Stars: Nigel Terry, Sean Bean, Tilda Swinton, Michael Gough, Spencer Leigh, Nigel Davenport, Dexter Fletcher, Robbie Coltrane, Jonathan Hyde, Sadie Corre, Dawn Archibald, Imogen Claire, Garry Cooper, Vernon Dobtcheff, Cindy Oswin, Jack Birkett
Genre: Historical, BiopicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: The year is 1610 and the renowned painter Caravaggio (Nigel Terry) is lying on his deathbed, seeing his life flash before his eyes. He remembers taking in his young charge who would not only act as his assistant in the following years, but end up looking after him as well, as he is now, attending to his master as he rambles in his fever. As the faces of the past swim into his consciousness, Caravaggio recalls his career, and the events leading up to the point he had to flee Rome for committing a crime. But as with much of his life, it was all down to passion...

Derek Jarman's Caravaggio is generally regarded as his best film, a deeply felt examination of the soul of an artist and how they struggle to convey the heights of human experience compared with the reality which will frequently let them down. Jarman wrote the script, and as often many like to read part of his own life into the world of his films; so it is with the lead character here in a rendering which may not be entirely historically accurate, but does convey a sense of what Jarman believed an artist had to endure to bring his work to life.

However, this director's approach is not going to appeal to everyone, and he made a virtue of something akin to a proud exclusivity, whether it was for aesthetes only or homosexuals only, that can be offputting to those not part of such circles. So it is with this film, which is so intent on creating, on a tiny budget, the atmosphere in which great art can be made that it grows sleepy in its depiction of suffering creative types and their subjects which he uses to paint noble religious figures that are far removed from the models. The scenes where the models pose are oddly camp and artificial instead of inspiring.

But Jarman embraces the idea that this is a modern version of an old story, and he playfully includes anachronisms, whether it's a trilby on the head of Dexter Fletcher's teenage Caravaggio, or Nigel Davenport with a pocket calculator, Sean Bean as the muse Ranuccio tinkering with a motorbike, or Jonathan Hyde tapping away on a typewriter in the bath. These aspects are not jokey, but serve to bring what could have been a pretty musty tale into the eighties, though again, this can be alienating for those used to the Charlton Heston as Michaelangelo school of painter's biopics.

Yet Jarman cannot quite escape the clich├ęs inherent in translating what is somewhat uncinematic: watching someone paint a picture. Therefore to make Caravaggio seem caught up in the ecstacy of creation he does that familiar painting very fast thing, and he has to have a great love of his life to inspire him to fresh realms of genius. Ranuccio is that man, but he also has a sexual relationship with his other half, Lena (Tilda Swinton in her debut), leading to her falling pregnant and tragedy. But with the amount of lounging around - for all the anachronisms, there are definitely no car chases to be seen - means the pace slows to that of a thick syrup and unless you can adjust to that and drink in the golden-hued images and lessons in the angst of an artist, then, dare I say it, you could well find this fairly boring. Music by Simon Fisher-Turner.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 4336 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: