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Pollock: Special Edition

In making his film Pollock (2000), actor/director Ed Harris seems to understand that a great many folks just don't get abstract painter Jackson Pollock. To his immense credit, Harris chooses to avoid proselytizing about the genius of Pollock's work, instead offering a straightforward narrative focusing on the artist's tortured career, with two brilliant performances at the center of it. The film begins at the very beginning of Pollock's breakthrough period, in 1941. He's become a very, very good painter, but still hasn't found what he's looking for — something original, a voice distinctively his own. Alcoholic, probably manic-depressive, and most certainly lacking in basic social skills, Pollock (played by Harris) lives with his brother and sister-in-law in a tiny apartment in Greenwich Village. When he meets artist Lee Krasner (Marcia Gay Harden), he finds a life partner who will manage him completely — something that, for better or worse, he appears to need. With Lee to boost his career, he finds his voice, and he finds fame — the pressure of which brings increasing self-doubt, depression and frustration. Harris's portrayal of Pollock is an impressive examination of this complicated man, perhaps too complicated to be explored on film to the degree he obviously wants. However, Harden's Oscar-winning turn as Lee Krasner is a different story, giving us a rich character that we can empathize with — outgoing and self-confident, excessively verbal and extremely hard-edged. And despite a few minor flaws, Pollock is a very, very good film. It won't change anyone's opinion of Jackson Pollock's work, but, like Pollock's paintings, Ed Harris's first directorial effort is original, passionate, and beautiful. Columbia TriStar's DVD release of Pollock: Special Edition features a clean anamorphic transfer (1.85:1) with audio in Dolby Digital 5.0. Features include an engaging commentary with Harris, a 20-minute "making-of" documentary, a 25-minute appearance by Harris on "The Charlie Rose Show," four deleted scenes, cast-and crew notes, theatrical trailers, and production notes. Keep-case.
—Dawn Taylor

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