A TRUE PORTRAIT OF LIFE AND ART.
The dream took ten years to fulfill, but in the end Ed Harris’s directing debut was hailed by most critics as an earnest and credible portrayal of a tortured artist. We follow Jackson Pollock in the early 1940s as he’s trying to find his style as an artist; at the same time he marries another painter, Lee Kranser (Marcia Gay Harden), who helps him on the road to fame. But alcohol remains his greatest challenge. We’re never totally emotionally invested in the story, because it has a detached tone; we never learn much about what goes on inside Pollock’s mind. However, the film’s strong moments, the intelligent approach to the story and the acting still make this a gripping experience.
2000-U.S. 117 min. Color. Produced by Ed Harris, Jon Kilik, Fred Berner, James Francis Trezza. Directed by Ed Harris. Screenplay: Barbara Turner, Susan Emshwiller. Book: Steven Naifeh, Gregory White Smith (“Jackson Pollock: An American Saga”). Cast: Ed Harris (Jackson Pollock), Marcia Gay Harden (Lee Krasner), Amy Madigan (Peggy Guggenheim), Jennifer Connelly, Val Kilmer, Jeffrey Tambor.
Trivia: Robert De Niro and Barbra Streisand were allegedly once considered to headline this project.
Oscar: Best Supporting Actress (Harden).
Last word: “It’s the need thing that got me. I was basically a jock all my life, a pretty good student, but all I cared about was playing football and baseball. It wasn’t until I was around twenty years old that I started acting, because I wasn’t interested in being a coach; I liked playing. At first, it was about attention, people applauding. But as I got into it, I saw acting was a way of looking at life. I started listening to different music, trying to appreciate art. Plus, I understood Pollock’s almost pathological shyness, that nonverbal aspect. When I began acting, for me to have a conversation with a person I didn’t know, that was the most excruciating thing in the world for me.” (Harris, Nitrate Online)