Best for scenes of the artist at work
The true test of a film about art lies in the scenes of the artist at work, and Ed Harris (who spent ten years and his own money getting the film to the screen) executes this to great effect in Pollock. We all know Jackson Pollock as the heroic, self-destructive artist who once drunkenly peed in Peggy Guggenheim’s fireplace. But what this film does is bring the artistic process to life with the broadly convincing brushstrokes, dripping and splattering. These sometimes entirely wordless scenes are photographed and acted with a sense of intricacy and care, whether Pollock is simply sizing up a frame or painting vigorously on a cold winter’s morning.
Pollock is a patient film, and certainly more interested in observation than explanation. This approach is no less insightful however, and in fact, is very much in keeping with Pollock’s own pronouncement, “Paint is paint, surface is surface.”