Michelangelo Caravaggio was an important Italian painter who led a short, tumultuous life. He surrounded himself with earthy street people who became the models for his paintings.
If you're looking for a biopic about the life of Caravaggio, look elsewhere. This chaotic and bizarre interpretation of his life by avant-garde director Derek Jarman is like seeing art history on a bad acid trip. The story opens well enough around the year 1600, and I thought I was seeing things the first time I saw someone in a 20th century tuxedo. I scratched my head at the calculator, but the motorbike and truck were too much. The use of anachronistic images and odd sound effects (trains, crashing ocean waves) was too jarring and distracting for me. There is little dialogue and the narration was incomprehensible. As a fan of Caravaggio's work, I did enjoy the scenes that showed models posing for his famous paintings, but the rest - a montage of unrelated scenes showing his depraved lifestyle - was just distasteful and speculative. I learned nothing of the man and more about the director.
Tilda Swinton made an impressive screen debut in the puzzling role of a young street woman and a very young Sean Bean is interesting as her companion, but Nigel Terry was a confusing and off-putting Caravaggio. Not recommended.
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