No baroque extravaganza this, but a wonderfully focused chamber piece that slips under the skin with quiet determination with something very tangible to say about duty, honour and a dormant creative process. Crisply photographed and handled with a deft economy of touch, this is probably Russell's finest biopic eliciting a fine trio of performances.
Russell said this was his best among all his works, which probably proves the man's latent sanity. A beautifully lucid, mournful, Romantic portrait of a deeply sensual artist in physical decay, attended by a young man apparently undergoing his own (repressed) sexual crisis. Completely coherent narratively, the film manages not to sacrifice Russell's trademark flamboyance. Think Women in Love, only better!