.

Pollock

Ed Harris, Marcia Gay Harden, Tom Bower, Jennifer Connelly

Directed by Ed Harris
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 0
Community: star rating
5 0 0
February 16, 2001

Biopics about artists, from Van Gogh the ear slicer to Basquiat the heroin casualty, invariably show painting as a bleeding art. Jackson Pollock, the abstract expressionist who galvanized the art world, sure fits the profile. And Ed Harris, who plays Pollock and makes his debut as a director — doing both jobs superbly, by the way — is angst incarnate. Pollock was an angry, abusive alcoholic. He died, at forty-four, in a 1956 car wreck that may have been a suicide, and in telling his story, screenwriters Barbara Turner and Susan J. Emshwiller often paint themselves into a box of cliches.

Pollock's bad behavior is richly cataloged, whether he is seething with jealousy over peers like Willem de Kooning (Val Kilmer) or peeing into the elegant Manhattan fireplace of his benefactor Peggy Guggenheim (a fine, feisty turn from Amy Madigan, Mrs. Harris offscreen). As an actor, Harris is matched by Marcia Gay Harden, who gives a fireball performance as Lee Krasner, the painter who put her career on hold to marry Pollock and harness his energy to his work. It helps that she gets him away from Greenwich Village temptations and into a distraction-free studio on Long Island. Harden even survives dialogue like, "You've done it. You've cracked it wide open!" when Pollock devises a technique of splashing paint on canvas that had early critics calling him Jack the Dripper.

Harris brings an energy to these action-painting scenes that is pure and exhilarating. He spent ten years in preparation for this film, and it shows. This is a towering performance of bruising inspiration. Harris flies highest as a director when he stops cataloging biographical details and catches the glorious frenzy of Pollock's art. Sit back and behold.

prev
Movie Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “You Oughta Know”

    Alanis Morissette | 1995

    This blunt, bitter breakup song -- famous for its line "Would she go down on you in a theater?" -- was long rumored to be about Alanis Morissette getting dumped by Full House actor Dave Coulier. But while she never confirmed it was about him (Coulier himself says it is, however), she insisted the song wasn't all about scorn. "By no means is this record just a sexual, angry record," she told Rolling Stone. "The song wasn't written for the sake of revenge. It was written for the sake of release. I'm actually a pretty rational, calm person."

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com