(Click here for Internet Movie Database entry)

Pollock finally came down south this week, not to Baton Rouge, of course, but to New Orleans. But it was worth the wait and worth the trip. This is a very powerful film. It is the brainchild of Ed Harris who both directs and stars in the title role. Harris became interested in doing this film when his father told him that he looked like Pollock. Pollock, of course, is Jackson Pollock, the famous American painter with the distinctive style of dripping his paint onto the canvas.  Some of the best scenes in this film are re-creations of Pollock producing some of his paintings. Although Ed Harris dominates this film with his performance, Marcia Gay Harden who plays Lee Krasner, Pollock's wife, is up to the task of matching him. More than anything, this story is about these two people and their life together. Krasner was also an artist. After she and Pollock get together, she slowly begins to give up her own life to take care of her husband. Pollock seems unable to do even the simplest things for himself and gives the impression that without Krasner he never would have stayed alive long enough to produce his art.  In one poignant scene, he sits at a table while his wife cuts his nails for him. Krasner also acts as his agent, working to get his paintings shown and sold. An early patron is Peggy Guggenheim played with flair by Amy Madigan (Harris' ex-wife in real life). The person who did Madigan's hair for the movie is given a ``special effects" credit.  Guggenheim and Clement Greenberg (Jeffrey Tambor) are the first to recognize that Pollock's art is worth something.  Pollock's life was a classic tragedy.  He had great talent but was an alcoholic and under the influence he became a monster. He had a meteoric rise to fame when he developed his new painting technique but then, just as fast, he stopped when he felt that he was done with it and began to drink again.  Harris is perfect for the role of the passionate, out-of-control Pollock.  He has shown his acting smarts in many previous roles from The Right Stuff to The Truman Show.   But Harden kind of comes out of nowhere. She has been around a while but has made a lot of forgettable movies.  She did have a nice supporting role in Space Cowboys.  Together, Harden and Harris have a great chemistry which brings their relationship to life and makes you really feel, with a shudder, what their life together was like. Harris does a very good job of directing. The story is told very cleanly.  The shots are simple and almost newsreel-like. Now that Pollock is playing almost everywhere, you should go and see it. Harris and Harden really earned their Oscar nominations.