06 Jul

Jackson Pollock (played by Ed Harris) is driven to paint. There’s something in him that gives him pure focus to produce his work, but he has a turbulent life. His strongest relationship is with his brother Sande (by Robert Knott) and in the 1940’s he spends his days painting and hanging out at his brother’s place in New York. But this is troublesome as he often goes out and comes back drunk, but Sande’s wife is never happy to see him. Life is hard, all Jackson wants to do is paint … but there’s no money in it. He’s done quite a lot of pieces, with one or two being in shows, but he’s not compelled to promote himself. One day he meets artist Lee Krasner (by Marcia Gay Harden) and they start a relationship. Lee “gets” Jackson, when most others have lost patience with his anti-social behaviour, so she takes him on and makes sure he’s on the straight and narrow – and she tries to limit his access to alcohol. They move out of town and settle in the Hamptons where Jackson begins to produce his best works to critical acclaim – at last he’s getting some publicity. Then “Life” magazine does a feature on him and his profile skyrockets. But the media spotlight is bright on Jackson and things start to fall apart – by the mid-50’s even Lee is starting to lose patience with him …

This is a great movie. Ed Harris had directed a compelling view into the life of Jackson Pollock as he produces his most famous works. Pollock was an enigma – totally focussed on his art, it’s almost an out-of-body experience for him, where the instinct will suddenly envelop him and it’s as though an external force is pushing the art out of him – quite fascinating. His relationships and general demeanour are obviously of no consequence to him and he never gives the time of day to anyone who tries to explain or theorise about his work. There is a marvellous line when the reporter from Life Magazine asks him to explain his work, he says “ …. it’s art, that’s all, it just is – just the same as why a flower is beautiful, it just is …” His performance is masterful and his nomination for an Academy Award (Oscar) in this role is well deserved. Equally excellent is Marcia Gay Harden’s depiction of Lee Krasner – marvellous and another performance more than worthy of the Academy Award (Oscar) she received for it in 2001. Best other performance is Amy Madigan as Peggy Guggenheim. Cinematography and production is good. I enjoyed it a lot.

Made in 2000. Directed by Ed Harris.

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Posted by on July 6, 2013 in Movies


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