|By Mira Harber
features Ed Harris as the American painter Jackson Pollock. In some ways
Harris give what is probably the best depiction on film of what it is to
be a painter, what a painter is, how he paints, and why he paints. He lives
to paint. We see Pollock as he discovers his famous 'drip' technique. The
moments when the artist swoops onto a blank canvas and begins to fill the
enormous space with his vision are inspiring.
These are the only moments when Pollock is truly happy and at peace, or
as much as is he is able to be at peace or be happy. This is also a movie
about a desperately unhappy man and dysfunctional character, who finds
it almost impossible to live in this world. He admits that if it weren't
for his wife, artist Lee Krasner (Marcia Gay Harden) he probably wouldn’t
be alive. The moments when Pollock is actually painting are truly exciting
- but the man himself is a bore. We see that he is an anguished, angry
man, but we never know why. Philanthropist Peggy Guggenheim (played by
Amy Madigan, Harris' real life wife) becomes his patron, and in an infamous
scene, true story, he pisses in her fireplace during a party. He would
be a lot more interesting if we knew WHY he acted like he did, but we don't.
So we'll have to settle for his painting. Marcia Gay Harden, nominated
for Best Supporting Actress, breathes life into this film - when she comes
onto the screen, the scene jumps to life. She meets Pollock, is convinced
of his genius, realizes that he will never act first - so she seduces him,
and becomes the torchbearer for man who has become her husband. She encourages
him, cooks and cares for him, waits out his infatuations, and is his biggest
supporter and best fan.
Pollock's best years are when he is painting and not drinking. Critic Clement
Greenburg (played to perfection by Jeffery Tambor) always speaks his mind.
He initially praises Pollock's early works and believes that Pollock had
ten good years as an artist, but blasts his later work as pretentious muddiness.
Probably the best line in the movie is when Pollock is being interviewed
for an article in Life magazine. He is asked, "How do you know when you're
finished with a painting?" His response "How do you know when you're finished