“Pollock” is a great film that continues to be ignored by the public, regardless of the acclaim it receives.
I definitely had my reservations about this film, hoping that this biopic of a great artist would not turn into something reminiscent of other poorly constructed bios of the recent decade. “Pollock” does the complete opposite. It tells the story of a man who is hard-working, depressed and who happens to be one of the greatest painters of the recent past, without touching on every monotonous aspect of his life. “Pollock” is the story of 20th Century painter Jackson Pollock (played by Ed Harris, who also directed). Pollock, at his worst, is a lifeless alcoholic and adulterer, whose work keeps him functioning while alienating other people in his life. When sober, he is a loving, gentle man, whose painting is phenomenal. His wife, Lee (Marcia Gay Harden), a fellow painter, motivates and loves her husband, but Pollock tries to push her away as well.
Harris portrays Pollock as sympathetic. Throughout the movie, we feel sorry for this man, and for all the wrong reasons. As he is cheating and drinking, he is a pure inspiration as an artist. When we see Pollock paint, we are inspired, yet wonder why this man cannot realize the greatness of who he is. He goes around bashing all the great artists, thinking he is the best, yet does not believe in himself.
Pollock’s greatest downfall is breaking his run of sobriety and commercial success by returning to drinking and sleeping with younger women. He tells his wife that his young mistress (Jennifer Connolly) is his “last chance” to bring an heir into this world when she denies him fatherhood early in their marriage. Even knowing that she has been left behind for someone else, she still loves him. In the end, Pollock never had a chance.
Jackson Pollock died in an automobile accident in 1956. He would never know the influence his paintings had on other people’s lives and the imprint he left on the canvas of the world.
Many different points exemplify the love that Ed Harris has shown for this project. Not only did he star in and direct the film, but he also funded its production, which at $6 million is low-budget by Hollywood standards. The supporting cast includes familiar faces, such as Val Kilmer and Jeffery Tambor. They show that there are still some actors who express love for a project – one that is not destined to make money, but destined to make an impact on its audience.
At this year’s Academy Awards, Marcia Gay Harden won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Pollock’s wife. As for the brilliance of Ed Harris’ performance, he received only a Best Actor nomination for what is the best overlooked performance of 2000. I praise “Pollock,” hoping people take a look at what a film writer, great acting, a low budget, and no action scenes can do to satisfy an audience.