Derek Jarman crafted a beautiful and unique work of art in "Caravaggio". Perhaps the fact that I have a great love for the work of the real Michelangelo Caravaggio, influences my judgment just a bit; It was quite enjoyable to see the paintings come to life, and to witness how they might have actually been created. In fact, much of Jarman's poetic film has the look of a lush, living painting. There is much to admire here besides the aesthetics; the talented and beautiful cast, led by Nigel Terry, the intense-looking Sean Bean, as Ranuccio, and the elegant Tilda Swinton, as Lena; the woman loved by two very passionate, and tormented men. The acting is all around excellent, but Nigel Terry as Michelangelo really stands out. He is great to watch, and brings life to a man the world knows not so much about. Also actor Dexter Fletcher was quite funny and likable in his portrayal of the younger Caravaggio.
More than a historical, biographical account of the painter, this is more the study of a classic love triangle. Caravaggio's models were mostly street people, many of them also criminals, and it seemed that he often became personally involved with his subjects. His love for 'Lena' seems to be as strong, if not stronger, than his love for 'Ranuccio'. And this divided love has tragic consequences, for all involved.
I didn't find "Caravaggio" an overly gay film, as the subject wasn't focused on obsessively, like other films of this nature tend to do. The love affair between Lena and Michelangelo was given as much attention as the relationship between him and Ranuccio. Therefore those who might feel a little uncomfortable with the subject matter, need not be, as it is actually quite accessible.
I highly recommend this poetic film, especially for admirers of the painter Caravaggio.
I hope this review has been helpful in your purchasing decision.