An auspicious directorial debut from prolific actor Ed Harris, Pollock overcomes its occasional obscurity (a factor that has marred lesser films about painters) to become an effectively detailed look at the unruly soul of an artist. As director, Harris beautifully captures the slowly evolving art world of New York in its time frame with refreshing exactitude, and the screenplay (while sometimes episodic) never resorts to pandering in order to better understand this difficult, often unbearably cantankerous man. Harris excels as Pollock, but Marcia Gay Harden walks off with the picture as his longtime love. Her sublime generosity as a performer, mixed with a passionately rendered portrayal of a woman with no sure next move, combine to forge a unique and truly affecting creation (not to mention an uncanny likeness to the real-life Lee Krasner). The film was the surprise centerpiece picture of the 2000 New York Film Festival, where it played to enthusiastic response, including Harris' much-discussed weight gain (à la Robert De Niro in Raging Bull) for the latter part of the movie. Academy voters acknowledged Harris and Harden with nominations for Best Actor and Supporting Actress; only Harden walked off with a surprise win on Oscar night.
by Jason Clark review