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Overall Rating

Awesome: 28.57%
Worth A Look52.38%
Average: 19.05%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 0%

6 reviews, 27 user ratings

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by Stephen Groenewegen

4 stars

Ed Harris’s first film as director is an accomplished “tortured artist” biopic. It charts Pollock’s rise to become America’s foremost abstract artist between 1941 and 1950, with a (too long) coda recording his alcoholism and infidelity prior to a fatal car crash in 1955.

Marcia Gay Harden contributes a noteworthy layered performance as Pollock’s wife, Lee Krasner, who was willing to put her own ego on hold to massage Pollock’s and create the conditions to keep him working. Without her, he would probably have abandoned his art and died in a gutter. Harris transfixes as Pollock. He already has the benefit of looking like the man, and thoroughly immerses himself in the role.

The film has greater interest for showing Pollock creating - Harris impressively recreates Pollock’s pictures before our eyes. Pollock also places him in the context of the American art scene of the time. It’s nice to have a 1940s-set American film providing a glimpse of New York bohemian life, seemingly unaffected by the Second World War. Harris’s wife, Amy Madigan, provides a nicely sketched portrait of mildly eccentric gallery owner Peggy Guggenheim.

The best scenes are Pollock and Krasner settling in on their farm. Harris cross cuts between Pollock’s work and his discovering a communion with animals and his natural surroundings; backed by Jeff Beal’s quirky score, this sequence has lift and cinematographer Lisa Rinzler perfectly brings out the rich green of the countryside.

Harris generally provides a pleasing balance of art and artist, so it’s a shame when the 1955 scenes spell out in too much detail the ending we’ve already been prepared for by Pollock’s earlier self-destructive behaviour. Anyone paying attention would have long sensed it looming over the horizon.

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originally posted: 08/13/03 13:59:38
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User Comments

8/06/06 ibrahimRehman i m writer i wrote a storys i wont to show it 5 stars
3/31/06 Thomas Semesky Hated Pollock's paintings, but liked the movie. 4 stars
2/23/05 andrea313 I love Ed Harris, but this one didn't do it for me. 3 stars
11/17/04 Michelle Execellent Moive!! Great acting. 5 stars
5/15/04 The More You Know adds to his legacy for better or worse, at least now I won't confuse Pollock w/ Browne. 5 stars
5/14/04 zee "NO! DON'T HAVE THAT DRINK!!" But, damn, he does... Ok, now go break some furniture! 3 stars
2/26/04 R.W. Welch Well done biopic. Helps if you're into the art scene. 4 stars
4/20/03 Dillon Sorry Eddie, I love you but this was too one-note for me. Harden terrific, tho 3 stars
4/19/03 Jack Sommersby One of 2000's 10-best films. Harris and Harden are brilliant! 5 stars
4/11/03 Jack Bourbon Ed Harris, Ed Harris, and more Ed Harris (which is good). Good job by Tambor, too. 4 stars
2/21/03 Jim the movie geek great cast, great story, understated, but kept me engrossed the whole time 5 stars
8/14/02 Bryan Brooks Ed Harris is outstanding. 3 stars
6/20/02 Reini Urban Thanksfully not too hollywood-like overly dramatic 5 stars
3/31/02 Film Guy Great Movie , not just for art lovers 5 stars
3/02/02 rue the whirl I thought it was... 5 stars
2/20/02 Xaver Marcia Gay Harden was supreme! See it. 5 stars
11/12/01 phil m. afficiando Awesome for the performances,casting,and directoral passsion. Not perfect, but who is? 5 stars
9/10/01 The Bomb 69 fragmented storyline, all over the place, great acting with poor directing (tough to do) 3 stars
6/05/01 Peter Brook good acting, poor directing, jumpy storyline. Should have been better than actually is. 3 stars
4/11/01 Spetters Harden and Harris make this worthwhile, because the narrative is sloppy sometimes. 4 stars
4/03/01 J.P. Couch Harden does an amazing job. 4 stars
3/29/01 skye great cast. fascinating subject. good movie 4 stars
3/24/01 Soggy Bottom Boy One of year's best, KICK@SS soundtrack. Top-notch acting, really loved this flic. 5 stars
3/05/01 Artist Freak Worth it just to see Ed Harris in the painting scenes, has other good points too. 4 stars
3/01/01 Roger the Shrubber Good acting + ok direction = worth a look 4 stars
2/28/01 Heather Great acting/directing from Ed & Marcia, a fly on the wall look at a destructive artist 5 stars
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