Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Pollock (2000)

I've always approached films about artists with some trepidation. I feel that an artist's life is often very similar to their works in that there are multiple ways of interpreting it, and when its put to film, sometimes we're only given one interpretation. And there's all sorts of cliches about artists: they're moody, over-critical narcissists that hate fame and just about everyone else. Pollock, Ed Harris' film about abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock, could have been a fascinating look into a deeply troubled mind, but instead plays like a slightly-above-average TV movie.
It's not that I don't like the performances. Harris, who also directed the film, plays Pollock as a man consumed by himself and by alcohol. Its a great performance, but its not one of Harris' best. Marcia Gay Harden, who plays Pollock's wife Lee Krasner, also gives a great performance. Harden, perpetually stern-faced, won an Oscar for this role, and she does well as the scorned, long-suffering Krasner.
The problem with the film is its pacing. For the most part, the film slowly lurches onward, with only a few scenes that really work well. When the film does finally reach its climax, it suddenly ends, leaving you wondering if you ever even really got to know Pollock by the end of the film. Its a disappointing end, and as a whole, the film never really becomes as interesting as it should have been.


Simon said...

I like it. Not perfect, but serviceable.

Jason H. said...

I just didn't feel like it made good on its potential. The film really could have been so much more than what it was.