Customer Review

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4.0 out of 5 stars Loses a lot on the small screen!, January 13, 2002
This review is from: Pollock [VHS] (VHS Tape)
I don't always rush to see movies in current release, but in this case, I'm glad I saw "Pollock" on the big screen. I recently watched it again at a friend's on a verysmall screen. It lost a great deal in the transition.
As others have noted, some of the best scenes in this film are those that show the artist at work. It's to Ed Harris's credit, both as sctor and as director that these shots do not seem forced or hokey. In fact, these sequences have an intensity that is impossible to fake. However, it is precisely at these moments that you want to viewing the film in the best possible setting. If you're watching Harris/Pollock attack a huge canvas on a small screen, the discrepancy is just too jarring.
As a dramatic effort, "Pollock" is not perfect--although it powerfully acted, as nearly everyone who's reviewed it has noted. Harris and Marcia Gay Harden deserved all the acclaim they received, and if you care about such things, you could say Harris "wuz robbed" at last year's Academy Awards. (Didn't the voters realize there'd be plenty of future occasions to honor Russell Crowe?) The film's shortcomings are those typical of biopics--compressing 15 years of an extraordinary life into a two hour film is not easy, so the film's sketchiness is not surprising. Still one does not walk away from the film feeling that one has finally "gotten" Pollock, assuming such a thing is even possible.
And it might have helped if the characters aged a little more. Marcia Gay Harden does appear with glasses in the latter scenes, a concession to aging, but did Lee Krasner never change her hairstyle in all that time? (Who knows, maybe she didn't: perhaps I'm quibbling here.)
"Pollock" reminds me in some ways of another actor's long-in-making labor of love, Robert Duvall's "The Apostle." Neither film was perfect, but from an acting standpoint, both film's provided their stars with what will likely prove the roles of their careers. Most often consigned to co-starring roles in bigger productions, these capable actors finally get to shine in projects that they've developed and sponsored. It's a hard way to guarantee yourself a plumb part, but in the current Hollywood environment, it may be the only way.
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