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Sunday, 17 June 2012

The Artistry and the Egotism

An ambitious and brilliantly realised film biography of the American artist Jackson Pollock, Ed Harris stars, directs and paints on-screen. Harris’ performance is a tour de force, superbly portraying a challenging (and challenged) individual, and Marcia Gay Harden is excellent (and rightly recognised by the Academy) as his wife, artist Lee Krasner.

It’s apparent from Mr. Harris' portrayal that Pollock was a difficult person to deal with and it seems clear that he had mental health issues – quite possibly being bipolar, in spite of his talents as an artist he is not a likable character for whatever reason.

But despite the fact that neither Pollock’s art nor his personality do anything for me, Mr. Harris’ film is absolutely compelling and a very rewarding watch. The painting scenes are remarkable, they have a hypnotic quality and in their raw creativity are a stark counterpoint to the destructive tendencies that the man exhibited at times. They also present moments of calm in the alcohol-fuelled whirlwind that apparently surrounded Pollock for periods of his life.

If you like biography I think you will enjoy this piece, it’s a career-topping performance and a brilliant portrayal of an intriguing talent and the people around him.

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