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[Short Reviews]

POLLOCK

One of the few things people knew about Jackson Pollock was that no one knew much about him. This bio-pic does little to resolve his enigma. Instead of illustrating the hows and whys of Pollock’s tumultuous life, director/star Ed Harris (Oscar nominee for Best Actor) tells us only what we already knew: he was an iconoclastic painter, a raging drunk, a strong man with an infirm mind.

Harris is a dead ringer for Pollock, and his performance is visceral, even if his unrestrained fury can seem excessive. And Marcia Gay Harden’s Best Supporting Actress–nominated turn as Lee Krasner, Pollock’s headstrong but self-sacrificing wife, is smart and affecting. But many scenes fall flat. The painter’s serendipitous discovery of the famous drip technique is dumb (Drip. Oops. Hunh? Aha!), and Krasner’s glib assessment of the new style is unbelievable: " You’ve done it, Pollock. You’ve cracked it wide open. " Please.

But the film’s biggest problem is its disjointedness. Pollock’s life is rendered in a series of disconnected scenes. He’s drunk. Then he’s sober. Then he’s painting. Then he’s the toast of the art world. Then he’s wasted again. Suddenly he’s got a mistress. Now he’s driving into a tree.

So why was Pollock so messed up? What went on in his head? Why did he fluctuate between serene creativity and blind rage? You won’t find the answers here.

BY MIKE MILIARD