Mixed or average reviews - based on 5 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 5
  2. Negative: 1 out of 5
  1. Reviewed by: Staff (Not credited)
    Much of the joy of the film is to be found in the way Jarman and his team recreate the look and color of the original paintings.
  2. It's often beautiful to watch, although it's more interested in visual style than philosophical depth.
  3. Reviewed by: Staff (Not credited)
    Marrying a painterly aesthetic with a defiantly homosexual sensibility, this ironic biopic is probably the most accessible film of avant-garde British director Derek Jarman.
  4. Reviewed by: Pat Graham
    In a sense, Caravaggio has less to do with its ostensible subject than with Jarman's own insistence on sensual, and largely homoerotic, expression, though there's a feeling of stifling enclosure to the images Jarman invents, of eros turned inward, toward private fantasy and longing, rather than outward to a world of real possibility.
  5. Reviewed by: Paul Attanasio
    Less a movie than an act of vandalism.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 4 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 3
  2. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. FrederickD.
    Jun 24, 2006
    Critics vilified this film. They were wrong. They are so besotted with western linear film plot, they fail to recognize the brilliance of this non-linear portrait of a tormented, but seminal Italian artist as a young man. The film captures his twisted genius, his brutalilty, his passion, his bisexuality, and his transendent vision, which elevated the common poor street beggar to the level of saint and angel. The film captures Caravaggio's genius and psychopathology in equal measure. Though the film takes liberties with time and place, it can hardly being said to be twisting the truth, since so little is known for certain about Caravaggio's life. (See Francine Prose's excellent portrait of Caravaggio in her recet biography -Atlas/HarperCollins books). Jarman imagines well the nightmarish vision of beauty, truth, love, passion and death that drove Caravvaggio's life on the street and on the canvas. The film is similar in approach to Peter Watkins' docudrama about the painter, Edvard Munch, which was also vilified by critics. More recently it was vindicated: the Harvard Film Archive now says the Munch film is "...considered by many to be the most successful portrayal of the artistic process ever depicted on film." I predict a similar future view will emerge of Derek Jarman's film on Caravaggio.. Full Review »
  2. Feb 17, 2012
    To celebrate my first encounter with Jermanâ