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Plot:

At the end of the 1940’s, abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) is featured in Life magazine. Flashback to 1941, he’s living with his brother in a tiny apartment in New York City, drinking too much, and exhibiting an occasional painting in group shows. That’s when he meets artist Lee Krasner, who puts her career on hold to be his companion, lover, champion, wife, and, in essence, caretaker. To get him away from booze, insecurity, and the stress of city life, they move to the Hamptons where nature and sobriety help Pollock achieve a breakthrough in style: a critic praises, then Life magazine calls. But so do old demons: the end is nasty, brutish, and short.

Also Known As: Πόλοκ, ο ασυμβίβαστος, Полок, Pollock, Pollock. La vida de un creador, Pollock, o asymvivastos, Поллок

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  • anita-fidor
    anita fidor

    Objectively speaking, POLLOCK is not a bad film. Subjectively speaking, I hated it from the very beginning and couldn’t wait for it to end. Throughout, it seems infused with the vitriolic spirit of Jackson Pollock, Stereotypical Alcoholic Artist, creating a work that is rock-hard to warm to.Not only is it tough to watch the sullen, surly, self-aggrandizing character played by actor-director Ed Harris, but his pushy, utterly codependent wife, Lee Krasner (Marcia Gay Harden), is another stomach-turner. `Get your own damn career and stop freeloading off his!’ I found myself yelling at the screen. Put these two together and you’ve got the film’s main focalpoint: a blatantly parasitic relationship that monotonously circles the same track, with her lowering her vast black New Yorker eyebrows in scorn and him skulking around with the loquaciousness of a two-toed sloth. Don’t these characters ever get to do anything but hype his `genius,’ carp and stew-for reasons we’re never privy to?Set between 1941 and Pollock’s 1956 death, the film both tells too little and tells too much. It presumes knowledge of the artist’s career and biography that the uninitiated don’t necessarily have. For instance, several times Pollock cops a faraway look that apparently means something to cognoscenti, like, `I can see him composing I’M A DRIP #7 in his head right now.’ But the gauzy gazes are never explained, and the audience strains to psych out a character who is so malicious, self-absorbed and boring that it’s not worth the effort. On the other hand, screenwriters Barbara Turner and Susan J. Emshwiller struggle to provide historical details about Pollock’s shows, business dealings, interviews, etc., making the film stilted in places. They also have an unfortunate need to plug in famous quotes: `I am nature,’ `I’m the only painter worth looking at in America,’ etc. Using such gack-worthy lines in service of character development is a cheap form of shorthand. I guarantee we could’ve extrapolated that Lee thought Jack’s new splatter style impressive without having her deadpan, `You’ve done it, Pollock. You’ve cracked it wide open.’WHAT got cracked open is never revealed. There’s nary a whisper of his being the first abstract expressionist, nor a mention of the designation Action Painters (though we do get to watch them guzzle beer together). The film never shares that The Dripper was fascinated with Navajo sandpaintings or the subconscious or anything else, facts that might have imbued him with some intelligence and dimension besides his supposed Neanderthal charm.Characters fall out of the sky without any explanation of who they are or what their import. Clement Greenberg is just `Clem,’–as their farmhand might be `ol’ Zeke’-forget that he was one of the era’s foremost art critics. When Krasner and her bangs first appear, we have no idea if she’s a critic or a painter or just some gal cruising the Village for a drunk to pop.The film also jettisons the talents of several supporting actors. As Pollock’s mom, Sada Thompson has sorely little to say, left to express herself with the kind of glares she used to give Buddy on FAMILY, but for reasons that are, again, never explained. Bud Cort, of HAROLD AND MAUDE fame, is a terrific surprise-but in the meagerest role on earth. And Val Kilmer’s bleached-out Willem de Kooning looks as if all the sunlamps and hash bars have completely overtaken him.Stay home and read Pollock’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, or tip a few (paint) cans of your own.

  • stefka-likar
    stefka likar

    “Pollock” tells of the life of American abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock. A excellent film in most respects, this tour-de-force by Ed Harris has one glaring flaw. Pollock simply wasn’t a sufficiently interesting subject to expect his biopic to have mass appeal. We’ve all seen films of alcoholic, neurotic, tormented artists and “Pollock” is just another to add to the muddle of Van Gogh, Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec, and others. “Pollock should appeal most to those with an interest in painting.

  • vivek-dve
    vivek dve

    Why would anyone care about any of the characters in this movie. They are uninteresting and pathetic and make no progress. The fact that they have art talent is of little interest.The performances of the actors, while commendable, tell a dull and repetitive story. It is a very long two hours to endure.

  • celms-anita
    celms anita

    I watched this having heard of Jackson Pollock here and there over the years and more recently through some of those funky art programs like “Art 21” and “This is Modern Art”. I knew what Pollock looked like, and the basic facts of his life. I heard of “Pollock” the movie not overly long ago when it was released in cinemas here, I finally got around to watching the DVD but didn’t realise it was made in 2000 as it only came out here two and a half years ago.I thought Pollock was an interesting character and I was looking forward to seeing how Ed Harris would tackle the role, this is the first feature of his I’ve seen with him in the lead. I thought he did a pretty good job, he put together a carefully crafted film and although there’s the usual problem of an actor only having superficial physical similarities to the person portrayed (eg. Will Smith in Ali, Greg Kinnear in Autofocus) he was quite believable and really nailed the art bits, you could believe it was Ed Harris that painted all those Jackson Pollocks.I have no complaints about this film and thought it was intriguing, it didn’t really get into Pollock’s mind but gives a good fly-on-the-wall picture of his life. I’ll probably have to read the biography to get a clearer understanding of the issues troubling Pollock throughout his life, what drove him to alcoholism and his last car ride…

  • lucentiu-ene
    lucentiu ene

    This film is boring and awful, exacerbated by the dreadful, Sim City style score from Jeff Beal.The scenes of the avant garde painter in his bohemian flat reminded me of Tony Hancock when he went to Paris in that great comedy film of the 1960s. He paints strange-looking stuff and is mistaken for a master.This film is a good as a cure for insomnia.

  • johanna-saarela
    johanna saarela

    A biopic on American Painter, Jackson Pollock. ‘Pollock’ is a terrible letdown, because the late-icon himself was one disappointed man. As a cinematic experience, this one’s a major letdown! Ed Harris stars as Pollock, whose entire life comes across as depressing. Harris, the actor, is in form. But Harris, the filmmaker chooses the wrong subject. Cinema is a different medium altogether. We watch movies to get entertained. And biopics, mostly, have been hugely engaging experiences. But this biopic, is simply bland! Ed Harris’s direction is dull. Can’t blame him, cause his biopic is upon a dull person. The Cinematography doesn’t strike either. In the acting department, Harris lives his part and becomes the late icon. But the show belongs to Marcia Gay Harden, who delivers a knock-out performance as Pollock’s wife. She is the life of the show! Jennifer Connelly, in a brief role, looks stunning! Val Kilmer makes an appearance.On the whole, ‘Pollock’ doesn’t work as a cinematic experience. Thumbs Down!

  • prof-ortrud-caspar
    prof ortrud caspar

    “Pollock” is one of those films that could have been a masterpiece, but stumbles far too many times to be a complete success. The titled character (Ed Harris in a show-stopping, Oscar-nominated performance) is an abstract expressionistic painter who had a short run of success when people like Picasso dominated the press of the 1940s and early-1950s. Bad decisions, a bad attitude and a bad drinking problem would cause Pollock to die way before his time in a wild car accident. Ed Harris’ performance is the strongest point of the film, but the weakest point is probably his suspect direction. Harris shows his shortcomings as a film-maker as he struggles with character development and a screenplay that never does jell or engross the way it should. Marcia Gay Harden received a somewhat curious Oscar as Pollock’s wife. The soundtrack is also terrible as it just does not go with the movie or the message at all. All in all, “Pollock” somehow over-achieves really. It is one of those films that stays interesting, but in the end the viewer will wonder “So what?” 4 stars out of 5.

  • lisa-hansson
    lisa hansson

    This film, although containing a surfeit of good intentions and ultra-sincere performances (especially Ed Harris), ultimately failed for me, despite my interest in art in general, and in Jackson Pollock in particular. Both the story and the character are opaque at best and non-descript at worst. Real Pollock’s story contains many very interesting and potentially juicy elements, for example his relationship and contempt for his true champion and patron, Peggy Guggenheim, are not given any coherent treatment and merely hinted at. We are not given any indications as to where Pollock’s rages or his alcoholism are coming from and secondary characters, including Lee Krasner are pure cardboard. Pollock’s views on art are not made clear (except briefly in a radio interview – and even here it is hard to tell if Pollock really means it or is just being facetious, or drunk – it could be either). Many scenes are simply inexplicable, like the one with the documentary-maker – it is not clear what is meant by them, what they contribute to the story or to the character. On the positive side, the movie is brilliantly shot and the painting scenes are quite well done.

  • shahane-eganyan
    shahane eganyan

    Considering the way painter Pollock is portrayed in this movie, I could not feel for him in any way. He was such a “jerk” – especially in the way he behaved towards those who loved him. After a half-hour of this drivel, I just plain didn’t care about him any more, and couldn’t wait for the movie to end. The only noteworthy things about the film were the acting of Ed Harris (the reason I watched the film), his cooooool car and the acting of Marcia Gay Harding (too bad her terrific performance was stuck in such a boring movie). Only 2 stars out of 10 -thumbs way down. Oh and P.S. – even I can paint as well as Jackson – that must be why I have such a boring life too!!

  • anthony-francis
    anthony francis

    Ed Harris was nominated for an Academy Award for his portrayal of Jackson Pollock. He also directed this pretty average movie. Pollock was the guy who invented the method of flicking paint on-to canvases on the floor. He also poured paint straight from the can. To-day there are art professors who reject Pollock as an artist…but if you want to buy a good Pollock to-day…you better have multi millions of dollars. Ed is O.K. as the alcoholic – manic depressive painter. However, he fails to get to grips with the psyche of the would-be genius. Perhaps the whole cast gave Pollock too much respect. The script does not feel real, and, quite frankly i did not learn much about Pollock the human being. (or Pollack the painter) A movie you see once…then forget about it.

  • stacey-black
    stacey black

    The problem with most actors when they direct is their belief that performance is all. Well, what good are any performances without good storytelling? “Pollock” is as flat as one of Jackson’s canvases, devoid of dramatic tension or even real character development beyond two notes. I never believed that Pollock and Lee Krasner were in love — they never kiss, physical contact is strictly buddy-buddy arms across the shoulders, and the only emotions expressed with any conviction are anger and despair.Something that distracted me throughout was Ed Harris’ physique. The only exercise the real Jackson Pollock got was from lifting cigarettes and beer bottles to his mouth but here he’s always utterly buff. Even at the end, when Harris put on 20 or 30 pounds, he was a buff-looking fatty.Bottom line, Pollock’s life was boring, and so’s the movie.

  • allan-bond
    allan bond

    This film was a major disappointment for me, and is yet another example why you don’t put actors in charge. Harris is an earnest enough actor, but a film project in general needs to understand the broader nature of the art of film. When it is a film of another art (dance, music, painting, even film-making itself) it requires an even broader stance. Else what you have is a story about just another schmuck with a messed up life.There are so many elements of this story that Harris misses, but two particularly annoy.First: Art, and painting in particular, consists of producing the actual artifact and simultaneously presenting a narrative about the artist and artifact to the consuming public. Van Gogh was a great painter because of both his work and his brother’s publicizing of the artist’s views. A trend in art history focuses more on the accident of the narrative than the talent of the artist, and Pollock is the key example. That’s because what really made Pollock was the contemporary film of him painting. His energy. The notion of brushwork so abstract that the brush never even touches the canvas. The notion of isolation from the urban dialog. That film is misplaced in this story as coming late. I recall it came earlier, and was a key in presenting the art. So what’s missed is the opportunity to focus on Lee as the real artist. Rather than being a sacrificing second-rate painter, she was the real abstract painter: brushwork so abstract she never even touches the brush. And the fact that the seminal film (of the real Pollock) is not exploited in this context is a tragically missed opportunity. Here, it is merely an excuse to fall off the wagon. A simple actor’s device rather than a fulcrum for exploring cultural memes.Second: Quite apart from the missed leverage of the historic film noted above, the medium of cinema as painting is completely ignored. Why shouldn’t the nature of the film convey, at least in some small measure, the same ideas the paintings have?Compare this to ‘Vincent and Theo,’ where the pictures on the screen mirror those on the easel. Also ‘The Draghtsman’s Contract?’ It would have been so easy for us to get a feel of what Pollock intended if the approach to the camera had some of Pollock’s feel. Instead we get Aaron Copland? Instead we get a literal, completely composed linear camera perspective? Instead we get something we can understand? Instead we get no management of color and rhythm? Jackson would have vomited.Note the logical place for at least a titular statement of style, the sixty seconds or so right before the crash. No luck.How great a film could have been woven around the notion of itself being art and also about art; of being a narrative of art and also a narrative about the narrative of art. Damn, we’ll never know now.This film is not bad because it is bad (like most films), rather it is bad because it is not good.

  • ronald-banks
    ronald banks

    The only reason I even attempted to watch this movie is because Ed Harris was in it, whom I like, and because I heard it was supposed to be good because it got nominated for some awards. But I could not even finish watching it, I kept falling asleep and when I would wake up I would think, oh, did it finally get a POINT!!?? But, alas, NO. I could not have cared less if someone had run over the idiot and had his guts all smeared over the street. He was a pathetic no-talent loser drunk who happened to drip some paint on a sheet. My 5-year old could do that.

  • sophia-nantsou
    sophia nantsou

    a good film, though perhaps i was expecting a little more. The psyche of a troubled artist is somewhat predestined these days and maybe it is just that our assumptions are correct as they are all portrayed in a predictable way. If this is how the artist truly was then then Harris could have done nothing different, it just seems a little distant. I didn’t feel at one with the artist, i couldn’t sympathise with him or feel his pain. The ‘intellectual’ artistic debates and gendredising continuously used by his wive left me with no sympathy for her. She appears desperate from the first scene pretentiously trying to be involved with the next big thing. The most depressing part of this film is that two people can be stupid enough to waste their lives on each other without searching for the happiness which they truly seek. The emphasis is on Pollock as a man whereas i would like to see more of him as an artist, did his individual paintings have meaning or did he just do them out of hate for the world…. i guess i didn’t feel you see his mind and its true agony’s, maybe he was just generally mad at the world.Really not a bad film for what it is, just to me it lacked true emotion.sio

  • damian-fuller
    damian fuller

    I doubt there are many folks who don’t like Ed Harris as an actor. Over the last two decades he’s given strong performances with a certain subtlety that is a trademark. Therefore, I’m also reasonably sure most people going to see his directorial debut can extend quite a bit of goodwill for a project Harris states he’s wanted to put on the screen for a decade. My own patience was used up after 20 minutes when I realized there was no one on the screen that Harris either understood or admired. For instance, the scene where Pollock urinates in Peggy Guggenheim’s fireplace during a New Year’s Eve party left the audience with only one choice: To laugh. The individuals at the party were portrayed as worthy of such an act because they were snobs. And indeed scorn is heaped upon any institution that’s portrayed in the film: Marriage, art criticism, artists, family relationships, filmmakers, friendships, lovers…. Everyone gets smeared here. I guess the dog comes off pretty well, but he’s got a small part.I can see why an actor would be drawn to this material. Jackson Pollock led a life that seemed destined for members of the Actor’s Studio to portray. There are many, many opportunities to emote. But a film should be more than an essay on acting large. Scenes are held much longer than necessary; many are tedious or just baffling.With the exception of Amy Madigan, the acting was a disappointment for me. Harris and Harden’s performances seemed in different styles, primarily because Harris is almost vacant in presence unless he’s smashing bottles or overturning dinner tables. Spending so long working on this project, I felt like Harris had become so close to the material that he excluded the audience in what was crucial character information. How did he discover he liked to paint? What was his mysterious psychiatric diagnosis? Was he in a psychiatric hospital or a detox tank? What were the pills Krasner puts before Pollock? Were they helpful? Hurtful? In general a screenplay that jumps back and forth in time using only placards like `Five years earlier’ or `Two months later’ signals an inherent weakness that a coherent narrative hasn’t been developed. It’s too bad because there was a lot of effort here. There’s surprising gracefulness in Harris’ brushwork. But we don’t know why the character–as an artist–is standing there and we don’t see anyone truly moved by the result. We’re told `Oh, that’s wonderful,’ but it’s by characters who are neither trustworthy or have demonstrated they aren’t sincere.The most tiresome chestnut, that artists have to be ONLY artists and not functioning members of society, is the most glaring problem with the film. When Krasner screams, `We can’t be parents, we’re painters!’ everyone sitting in the audience really knows `You can’t be parents because he’s an egomaniac and a drunk.’ And I don’t think that’s a fair legacy for artists, particularly of Jackson Pollock’s stature.

  • ilie-ionescu
    ilie ionescu

    Pollock (2000)There’s no question this is a well made film, and based pretty much on truth, and an interesting truth–the life of a great Abstract Expressionist. Some would say the greatest of them all.For myself, this isn’t enough, and I know this is me. I’m an art critic and professor of Art in my real life, and I’m never very patient with movies about artists. The reason isn’t that there are inaccuracies, but that there is a subtle or not-subtle goal of aggrandizing the subject. This reaches a beautiful but, again, romanticized, peak when Pollock makes his famous break into true gestural, raw work in a large commissioned piece for Peggy Guggenheim (who is portrayed, oddly, as a shy and dull sort, which I’ve never pictured). Then later he makes his drip works. And then he dies, again over dramatized and made aesthetic, as tragic and ugly as it had to have been in life.If you want to really get into Pollock’s head, especially if you aren’t already a fan (I love Pollock’s work), this is a convincing movie. At the helm as both director and playing the artist is Ed Harris. He is especially believable as a painter, which is something of an important point. This isn’t like those movies about musicians where the actor is clearly not playing. Harris actually paints the darned thing, the big masterpiece, on the cusp of the drip works. I don’t know if Harris was drinking, too, but he’s a good drunk, and of course Pollock was a better drinker than a painter, even.It’s a cheap shot to say a movie could have been shorter, but this one sure would have propelled better with less atmosphere, less filler that is meant to create his life but is interesting only as an illustration of historical facts. It wore me thin for those reasons. Again, it might be a matter of how much you can get sucked into the given drama that is Jackson Pollock’s life. It was quite a life, crude, untempered, brave, and immensely connected to what matters as an artist.

  • alexander-edwards
    alexander edwards

    Jackson Pollock was not a likable person. He was an alcoholic, an adulterer, an egotist and simply a plain jerk. He also was a pioneer in the field of modern art, so he became famous and hence, even had this movie about his life.Ed Harris, a jerk himself, was a good choice for the role. Harris, who looks like Pollock, did a fine job of portraying this “tormented” soul, a word critics love to use for famous artists (see Van Gogh).This was an interesting film and I watched it twice. It inspired me to become an artist and I did a handful of Pollock imitations, several of which sold for a decent price. I love Pollock’s work, and I enjoy character studies of people on film . But this gets a little sordid as the film goes on with a definitely-unhappy ending.Hat’s off to Marcia Gay Harden for her performance as Pollock’s wife. She has the New York City accent down pat. She is shown worshiping her husband and it’s painful to see her get hurt.The story is a bit soap operish but if you enjoy art, and especially Pollock’s work, you’ll find this story fascinating. More than one look, however, changes the canvas, so to speak. The story, more than the art, then will come through more and that can be too much of a downer. So, visit this “art show” once and leave it at that.

  • alyssa-hill
    alyssa hill

    Ed Harris gives it his all and succeeds here, in his (fine) directorial effort. He portrays 40’s and 50’s painter Jackson Pollock, a man who drank too much, was often crazy about many things, but was a magnificent painter (depending on what you like). Marcia Gay Harden also stars as Lee Krasner, Pollock’s guidance into the benign and all. Both Harris and Harden are exqusite here, earning well deserved Oscar nominations (Harris I think would win if it wasn’t for Tom Hanks performance), with not much insight going into the method to Pollock’s madness, but just his design, which is good in avoiding chiches. Painting scenes are some of the best scenes of last year. A

  • donatella-rinaldi
    donatella rinaldi

    While this film is flooded with holes in Pollacks short career, we do get a glimpse of his struggle and process. I was sorry that a few other notable artist that were a part of Pollacks art scene were not portrayed during this great period of time. Mark Rothko, Louise Nevelson and Robert Motherwell to name a few. Also, Pollack worked as a security guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for a short time. This environment was partly responsible for exposing him to the dominant European invasion of art in America. I would have liked more in depth insights into why Pollack began painting and why he was so tortured. Ed Harris does a fine job with the material he was working with, but they could have covered more bases in Pollacks life and I know Harris would have stepped up to the plate. In one scene Pollack is pacing back and forth in front of a large blank canvass. It is a stunning scene watching his shadow run along that large white surface waiting for the moment he would begin to paint. Another scene takes us to East Hampton where he is kneeling down out in the salt marshes staring into a tide pool. Just this pose alone suggests a precursor to removing the canvass from the wall and placing it on the floor.There are a few quiet moments that capture the subtle Pollack and I wish they explored more in this direction. In so many of these artist portrayals the essence of the process and inspiration gets lost in the drama of their personalities.However, this movie takes on an ambitious man and an ambitious time in American Art. I was grateful to have seen with my own eyes several Pollack shows over the years and to have studied and experimented myself with Abstract Expressionism.I think Ed Harris and Marcia Gay Harden should be nominated for their incredible portrayals of these two great artists. Moreover, whether you know a great deal about Pollack, this film will allow you to glimpse into the life of Jackson, but it will also expose you to his wonderful partner, Lee Krasner.

  • jose-mora
    jose mora

    Although the film doesn’t exactly startle us with its thesis – that the life of an artist is rarely a happy one – `Pollock’ manages to skirt most of the clichés inherent in the `tortured-artist’ biographical genre to provide us with a complex study not only of the man himself but also of the woman who stood beside him through most of his troubled life.Jackson Pollock was, of course, the prototypical `struggling genius’ – neurotic, insecure, arrogant, self-absorbed and forever locked in an epic struggle with his own private demons (in Pollock’s case, alcoholism). Out of this morass of personal weaknesses, the painter perfected his art – which became a reflection and synthesis of the raw elements comprising the emotionally chaotic world in which he lived. The film introduces us to the man in 1941 when he is still a virtual unknown living in Greenwich Village, bellowing in an alcoholic rage against the success of Picasso, in whose shadow Pollock seems to be forever hidden away from public view. One day, into his life walks Lee Krasner, a similar, though less gifted, modern artist who detects Pollock’s special genius and becomes the future art world celebrity’s greatest champion and lover. Much of the fascination of the film lies in the examination of the complexities of the almost love-hate relationship that develops between the two. On the one hand, we sense that Jackson and Lee provide just the right emotional complement for one another – a shared symbiosis which lays the foundation for an environment in which Pollock’s creativity and artistic experimentation can expand and flourish. Lee, for instance, wages a fierce battle to secure Pollock’s acceptance among the crème de la crème of New York’s art world elite, the result of which is eventual name recognition for Pollock the world over. Yet, Lee pays an ultimate price for her tenacious possessiveness: so all consumed does she become in the life and work of the man who will change the face of modern art that she begins to alienate him and eventually push him away. Unwilling to share him even with a child of their own, she ends up depriving Pollock of the chance of experiencing the joys of fatherhood. The final result is that he is truly left with nothing but his identity as a painter. Thus, as his reputation begins to become eclipsed by newer, younger artists, and as he retreats back into an alcoholic haze after a couple of years of productive sobriety, Pollock’s life begins its inevitable spiral downwards into hopelessness and tragedy.Ed Harris not only stars in the film but directed it as well. He does a superb job on both counts. As Pollock, he supplies the brooding sensitivity as well as the physical intensity that are reflected in the artist’s paintings themselves. One never doubts the genuine love Pollock has for Lee, yet always there is the constant threat of physical violence lying latent beneath his placid surface. Marcia Gay Harden matches Harris’ performance every step of the way. Beneath her determined, hard-edged exterior lies a woman capable of sincere attachment and a total devotion to both a person and the cause he represents.Unlike so many films dealing with the lives of artists – in which we see brief glimpses of paint-dabbing followed almost immediately by views of the finished products – `Pollock’ provides generous opportunities to see Pollock (i.e. Harris) in action. We sit spellbound as we watch him take a plain white canvas and, step by step, convert it into a work of beauty and art. If for no other reason, the film is worth seeing just to whet one’s appetite and renew one’s appreciation for Pollock’s work.

  • leandros-nitsotoles
    leandros nitsotoles

    I think it is very hard in general to make a “based on a true story” sort of film, that alone can clamp a pretty heavy anchor to your ankles. Moreso when that true story is one that means a lot to you as Ed Harris has said about Jackson Pollock’s biography.Based upon those precepts, I feel Harris succeeded, however I cannot say this film is an unqualified success. It is sprawling, but unlike Pollock…for cinema circulation, Harris could not stretch his canvas so wide. He gets over two hours here…but I suspect he could have filled six easily.Based upon early buzz when this came out, including the snippet shown at the Oscars for Marcia Gay Harden, I had trepidation that this would be reduced to a shout and spittle film; that the rage and angst of Pollock and Krasner would be the story. Certainly this is one aspect presented, but not the sole one.Interestingly to me, it seemed that the more halcyon Pollock’s life was, the better his exploration of his art. I went in expecting that alcohol-oiled turmoil would be presented as the key to complicated creation. An artist must suffer and so on.This shows that while I was familiar with Pollock, I was not that familiar. I could recognize his later chaotic, laced and dripped paintings…but I did not know anything about his personal life.But in the course of two hours, I did enjoy…1) Seeing a progression in Pollock’s paintings. I had not seen many of his earlier works that had more blocks to them, that were more easily seen as assemblages of images. The way these were filmed, in the act of creation was well done here. Same is true for the latter works. 2) The importance of Pollock’s family. I loved seeing his Mother come to the openings. I did not know that two other brothers also painted; Sande alone seems to understand Jackson’s talent and torment. Their relationship could have made a film of its own. 3) Jeffrey Tambor’s portrayal of Clem, a critic/king-maker of sorts. Us posters here, run the risk of being posers as well. And I think the best of us realize how subjective our comments are, a function of when we watch films, and who we are with, or how we are feeling as much as the films themselves. 4) Following on that notion, to me one thread of “Pollock” is how the circle of critics destroys artists with either persecution or praise. It is not a revelation, that much art is highly personal, both for the purveyor, but painfully so for the artists. Not a revelation, but still worth repeating… When we see Pollock “drunk” on his ascent, reading from an Italian magazine during a family reunion, that really got to me. Maybe that was more dangerous than alcohol. Even if that critical acceptance is not essential, eating is. Another thread alluded to in this film, how to “work” and to live as an artist.That scene also drove home the obsessive nature of being an artist, how it is hard at the same time to be a brother, or uncle, husband or perhaps impossible to be a father. Thus that obsession helps to contrast Sande and Jackson, and certainly sets up the power of Marcia Gay Harden’s performance. Krasner too is an artist, who has had some success. She retains her name, and her dreams, but fully embraces Pollock, and Pollock’s artwork. Her support of him, while aware of her limits, was presented without martyring her. She was not a saint wandering into Pollock’s hell. 5) Talking to an artist about his/her obsession is problematic. They are already communicating in their chosen medium, and presumably they are communicating that way as it is easier than using words. I thought the interview with Life magazine in this film, and Pollock’s notion of viewing his art as one views a field of flowers helped me. Maybe that was obvious to others, I think that way in music/sound…but in art too often I am hunting for images, for mirrors to our world.The radio interview that Pollock conducted, halting and awkward could have underscored the travails of talking about art, or it seemed like he was trying to read from a manifesto of sorts (perhaps in real life one exists). Finally, the documentary film is painted as an undoing of Pollock. Fascinating as we ourselves are watching a film about Pollock. It’s as if Ed Harris the actor in character could be talking to Ed Harris the film auteur.The documentary film was to Pollock, what a zoo can be to a wild animal. The habitat corrupts the inhabitant. How Pollock puts on his shoes, when he’s done painting, all control is lost…the private process made public, is made impure.No, that’s not the point to this film. If you are looking for a film with one tidy point, go elsewhere. But for an abridged but admirable biopic on Jackson Pollock, with many tangled and tantalizing threads…this is one to rent. And now a book for me to read. Rarely do I watch the deleted scenes and wish they had been in the film, as I did in this case.There was a great shot early in the film where Pollock is pacing before the mural commissioned by Peggy Guggenheim. From the plot, we know he’s worried about looms before him, and we get eerie shots of his shadow projected on the empty canvas to reinforce that. Harris too may have felt this was an ominous undertaking, I hope he pleased himself as he did me.7/10

  • vitolins-elita
    vitolins elita

    Ed Harris has taken the biopic to a new level. Although the skeleton of the film is no more than the troubled life of an alcoholic struggling with fame, the power of the acting and sequence of the film take it a step further. The relationship between Krasner and Pollock mirrors that of Stanley and Stella Kowalski but Krasner is a much stronger character and Marcia Gay Harden more than deserved the oscar she received for the part. The only part that concerned me was the explanation Harris chose to show Pollock’s progression to his drip paintings. The arbitrariness of the “revelation” seems stretched to me and suggests that it is actually known how Pollock made that movement. All in all, the movie is excellent and worth seeing.Just be careful – I cringed every time he got into a car…

  • artes-giordano
    artes giordano

    As heavy and darkly textured a film as any one of his masterpieces, director and star Ed Harris takes us into the tortured, inebriated world of abstract painter Jackson Pollock (1912-1956)and leaves us assured that Pollock is a certifiable candidate for the Hall of Fame “self-destructive genius” award, joining the illustrious, besotted ranks of Ernest Hemingway, Hank Williams, John Barrymore, Helen Morgan, et al. True, when has Hollywood ever bothered to put on cinematic display a gifted artist who wasn’t a poster child for Betty Ford? We usually reserve well-adjusted geniuses for quieter, more tasteful retrospectives on cable TV.Harris spares no time in letting us know that Pollock is a crude, mindless, gifted mess veering toward unmitigated disaster, taking everything and everyone down with him as he does. Amazingly, in his brutally brief 44 years, Pollock manages to find, with a man-child brilliance, his life’s destiny as a master of artistic expression and interpretation and the accidental inventor of the drip-action technique. Harris painstakingly chronicles the little known details of this wretched genius who somehow learned how to free up his own artistic mind while confine the rest of his world to an absolute hell.The actor/director wisely manages to avoid most of the pitfalls characteristic of these grand bios of agony and angst. In a stark, no-holds-barred performance, he lays the character out like it is — unredeeming, hopeless, desperate, supremely gifted, yet intriguing. Its a daunting, fully etched performance that, in lesser hands, could have been one long cliche. He doesn’t toy with the audience by thinking had the right circumstances come along for Pollock (and they DID come along with wife and caretaker, Lee Krasner) he could have somehow prevailed. Harris is quite believable, losing himself in the painter while showing off his researched skills with a brush. It’s a true labor of love and it shows.Marcia Gay Harden’s self-sacrificing Krasner breathes life not only into Pollock but the film itself. Harden, in a rich, flashy portrayal, is mesmerizing as one artist compelled to save another, giving interesting dimension to a woman whose reasons are not totally pure and selfless. Amy Madigan (Harris’ wife in real life) makes the most of her few scenes as the eccentric museum maven Peggy Guggenheim, while Val Kilmer appears in an odd, thankless cameo. Harris and Harden were both deservedly Oscar-nominated for their work here.Yet, problems do creep into the film. While Harris pours his heart and soul into this show (a ten-year pet project, so they say), Pollock’s “before life” is never set up to demonstrate why Pollock became such an inveterate drunk and monster. As such, little sympathy can be mustered, holding viewers at bay. Moreover, a couple of manipulative scenes also seem to be thrown in merely to punctuate the already well-worn theme of Pollock’s misery and desolation. Less is more in this case. For the most parts, however, this little film succeeds.Until now, little attention has been paid to the artist Jackson Pollock. Harris rectifies this injustice, as reprehensible as some of it is, with unsparing honesty, dedication and precision.

  • troy-hughes
    troy hughes

    The romantic notion of suffering for one’s art has been cinematically rendered in countless films, depicting the lives of real life artists ranging from Van Gogh to Camille Claudel to Beethoven to Jim Morrison to Rimbaud; but rarely has a film penetrated as deeply as `Pollock,’ directed by and starring Ed Harris as the abstract painter Jackson Pollock. The story begins in 1941 and chronicles Pollock’s life until the early ‘50s. It’s a vivid, and at times grim portrait of a true artist struggling for recognition, as well as with the inner demons that plague his soul and are reflected in his art and the way he lives his life. It is said that the artist `sees’ the world differently than the average person, which may be true; and it is that unique `vision’ that sets the artist apart. And Pollock was no exception to the rule. As romantic as it may sound, the reality of suffering for one’s art is just that: Suffering. For realizing that vision and bringing it to fruition is more often than not an arduous and tortuous path to tread. Coalescing the fragments of that vision and transferring that information into reality can be a painful process, and one of the strengths of this film is that it so succinctly conveys that sense of desperation and frustration that are seemingly an intrinsic part of `creating.’ There’s a scene in which Pollock, after having been commissioned to do a mural, sits on the floor of his studio with his back against the wall staring for days on end at the blank canvas stretched across the room, waiting for that spark of inspiration, that sudden moment when what he must do will crystallize in his mind’s eye. It’s a powerful, intense scene that allows you to share that creative process with the artist and experience the emotional turmoil of it, as well as the exhilaration of the moment when it all suddenly becomes clear, when the vision is realized. It’s a stunning moment; Pollock’s face fills the screen and you actually see it in his eyes, the exact moment of discovery. And it’s absolute magic. As Pollock, Ed Harris gives arguably the best performance of his career; he perfectly captures every emotional level of this complex individual, from the manic highs and lows (exacerbated by alcohol consumption) to the neutral moments in between. He totally immerses himself in the character, and what surfaces is a thorough and memorable picture of a tortured genius and flawed human being. It’s an astounding piece of work, for which he most certainly should have taken home the Oscar for Best Actor. Marcia Gay Harden received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Lee Krasner, the woman who loved Pollock and devoted herself (even at the expense of her own career as an artist) to the man and his art. It’s a terrific performance, through which Harden brings Lee to life, physically and emotionally. Her amount of screen time seemingly should have qualified her for a Best Actress nomination, but regardless, her work here is unquestionably deserving of the Oscar. The supporting cast includes Amy Madigan (Peggy Guggenheim), Jennifer Connelly (Ruth), Jeffrey Tambor (Clement), Bud Cort (Howard), John Heard (Tony), Sada Thompson (Stella Pollock) and Val Kilmer (Willem de Kooning). Harris’ triumph with `Pollock’ does not begin and end with his extraordinary performance, however; though his acting is so exceptional it would be easy to overlook the brilliant job of directing he did with this film. And it is brilliant. The way this film is presented is the work of not only a seasoned professional, but of a professional artist with a unique vision of his own. One of the best films of the year (2000), hopefully it will in the future receive the acclaim of which it is so richly deserving. Hopefully, as well, Harris will direct again; for it is talent like his, and films like this one, that expand the Cinematic Universe as we know it. I rate this one 10/10.

  • dominik-jasprica
    dominik jasprica

    Films like “Pollock” always leave me at a loss when I have to describe them to others. For one thing, it’s long been a labor of love for director / star Ed Harris, which maybe causes me to have more sympathy for the picture than I should — after all, I’d hate to ream a project that he’s spent so much time and energy developing. For another thing, I usually find biopics a bit crippled because, in most cases (“Pollock” included), I already know the plot, and without the plot to get lost in, I’m left to look at little things like, you know, the acting, writing and directing. Lucky for Harris (and my conscience), then, that the acting is uniformly great, the direction is mostly seamless (and downright kinetic at times), and the writing, while not being great in the “Casablanca” sense of the word, serves the story well. “Pollock” dodges all the pitfalls that often turn biopics into boring history lessons.The film picks up with Jackson Pollock the Unsuccessful Drunk (Harris), dabbling in surrealist painting and proclaiming Picasso to be a fraud. There’s enough promise in his work, though, for him to gain a girlfriend, Lee Krasner (Marcia Gay Harden); a benefactor, Peggy Guggenheim (Amy Madigan); and a professional critic, Clement Greenberg (Jeffrey Tambor), who champions his work in print. From there we watch Pollock take the express train to art world superstardom, becoming one of the world’s foremost abstract painters.The fly in the ointment, though, is Pollock’s notorious temper, aided and abetted by his equally notorious alcoholism. Life in New York City is doing his personal life no favors, so he and Krasner move to the countryside, and it’s here that he stumbles upon his “drip method” of painting, granting him another wave of fame and recognition. It is this sequence, in which Pollock makes his pivotal discovery, where Harris’s talent as a director comes to the fore. Although we’re aware that we’re watching an actor perform a discovery that was made by someone else more than fifty years ago, it’s an exciting, dynamic moment as Harris dances around his canvas, flicking paint from his brush in a blur of motion. It doesn’t come off as staged or phony, but as a moment of genuine discovery, and for those moments we might as well actually be watching Jackson Pollock revolutionize the art world.From there, though, ego, alcohol, and the mechanics of change all prove to be Pollock’s undoing, leading, of course, to his untimely demise. Through it all, Harris seethes with a feral intensity, giving a performance that should rightfully win him an Oscar (and check out the dramatic weight gain at the end. Tom who?). Harden, his co-nominee, is also excellent (although she’s stuck uttering lines like, “You’ve done it, Pollock. You’ve cracked it wide open.”). In lesser hands, Krasner could be just another version of the screeching, wailing, put-upon wife, but Harden bolsters the anguish with a fine layer of anger; the torment of a woman who loves the person causing her misery, but who is unwilling to let go of the principles which led her to enter and maintain the relationship on her own terms.”Pollock” ultimately succeeds because we know how it will end, we clearly see how unpleasant and deluded the artist had become, and still we can’t look away. Harris’s labor of love serves as an auspicious debut for someone who, at this stage, seems just as skilled behind the camera as he is in front of it.