PollockMay 18, 2001
A film about the life and career of the American painter, Jackson Pollock.
Release Year: 2000
Rating: 7.0/10 (12,733 voted)
Critic's Score: 77/100
Stars: Ed Harris, Marcia Gay Harden, Tom Bower
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.
Writers: Steven Naifeh, Gregory White Smith
Marcia Gay Harden
A True Portrait of Life and Art.
Sony Pictures Classics |
Release Date: 18 May 2001
Filming Locations: East Hampton, Long Island, New York, USA
Box Office Details
Opening Weekend: $44,244
(17 December 2000)
(22 July 2001)
Did You Know?
This was originally conceived as a vehicle for Robert De Niro and Barbra Streisand.
Boom mic visible:
Boom mic shadow on canvas as Jackson works on the mural.
Who's the greatest drummer in the world?
In The Abstract
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