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Click above to purchase "Pollock: Special Edition" at


Special Edition

review by Zach B.

Rated R

Studio: Columbia/Tri-Star

Running Time: 123 minutes

Starring Ed Harris, Marcia Gay Pollock, Tom Bower, Jennifer Connelly, Bud Cort, John Heard, Val Kilmer, Robert Knott, David Leary, Amy Madigan, Sally Murphy, Molly Regan, Stephanie Seymour, Matthew Sussman, Jeffery Tambor, Sada Thompson, Nobert Weisser

Screenplay by Barbara Turner and Susan J. Emshwiller
Based on the book "Jackson Pollock: An American Saga" by Steven Naifeh and Geregory White Smith

Directed by Ed Harris

Retail Price: $26.95

Features: Audio Commentary with Ed Harris, Making-Of Documentary, Charlie Rose Interview with Ed Harris, Deleted Scenes, Filmographies, Production Notes Insert, Theatrical Trailers. DVD-ROM: Weblink

Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Surround, English Closed Captions, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Scene Selections (28 Chapters)

Released: July 24th, 2001

Ed Harris makes his directorial debut with "Pollock", a fascinating movie about the great American painter Jackson Pollock. Harris does quite an impressive job with this movie, as he creates and entertaining and wonderful drama about the man's life and work. Harris originally became really interested with the man after he read his biography which his father gave him, and it took nearly a decade to get the film made. It's great to see that Harris has had such passion and strong feelings for Pollock, and it seems the long time and effort to get the movie made really did succeed.

So anyway, back to the actual movie. The film, as I said, follows Jackson Pollock, the incredible and legendary American painter. Throughout the course of two hours, we see how he meets Lee Krasner (his future lover) and how she pushes and helps Pollock's art rather then supporting her own artwork. As the film goes along, tension builds between the two as we see Pollocks' love for alcohol and how he is a man filled with many insecurities. A lot of the times in the film we see Pollock's rage and quick temper get the best of him. While he does create some incredible art, Pollock ends up going on a downward spiral of depression which leads to a car crash.

The performances here are really effective and truly heartfelt. As we all know, the big shock came at Oscar® time during the year 2001 when Marcia Gay Harden picked up her Oscar® for Best Supporting Actress, beating the likes of Frances McDormand and the favored Kate Hudson. I've liked Harden's roles in the past, and here she does an incredible job and I was glad she won it. Her performance as Krasner is intense and really dramatic, and she brings it to life perfectly. I would even consider her role as a lead one, but the Academy is crazy as always and picky about what is what. The supporting players in this movie are good, but there is not so much built on them. And of course, we have Ed Harris himself, who does bear an eerie resemblance to the late painter. I thought Harris was going to be an upset and win the Oscar® too, but alas, he did not (don't get me started on Crowe...). While I'll talk about Harris as a director in a moment, his performance here is also intense and incredible. He brings this tortured soul to life. His gestures, his rage... just everything. The acting and casting in this movie is downright brilliant.

Ed Harris makes his directing debut with this movie as I previously mentioned, and he's a natural director. He has had such a passion with Pollock for a long time, and it shows on screen. The way he moves the camera and how he sets things up is really nice. He has a good style and sets the movie at a good pace, things go fast and we do get a gist of what's going on and how the characters are. He shows strengths, weaknesses... he does quite an amazing job for a first time director. He really brings the story to Pollock to life in a great way. I hope Harris will direct more in the future.

My problems with "Pollock" are minimal. The script is good with good development of the characters and nice, true dialogue, but the main problem with this movie is its focus. While I felt Harris set things up accordingly, often I felt he focused too much on certain elements and too little on others. More on his art would be nice, I guess, but he does cover a good portion of his life. I think it needed more balance. On a different note, the musical score by Jeff Beal is fantastic and really catchy, it perfectly fits with everything on screen.

Don't miss "Pollock". It's a wonderful bio drama complete with great directing, fabulous acting and a lot of other great portion as well. Harris is certainly an impressive director, so if you missed this one in theaters, be sure to check it out now. There's a lot to like here, as it does paint an interesting portrait (pardon the joke) of an interesting man. I'll even go as far as saying it's one of the best biography films I've seen.

"Pollock" was shot in 1.85:1 widescreen and this anamorphic presentation of it looks pretty impressive. I heard the film was shot on a low budget, which would explain why it doesn't look incredibly sharp compared to some other films, but this is still a really impressive transfer that took me by surprise. I did noticed some dirt and blemishes here and there, but nothing that will really annoy anyone. Edge enhancment is noticable which I found to be a bit distracting. There is some grain but hues and fleshtones looks natural as well as accurate. Black levels and detail are great, but there's also some shimmering. Overally, a pretty nice transfer that does not disappoint.

"Pollock" features some pretty great sound in the audio material that really did surprise me considering the material. The disc features an English Dolby Digital 5.0 track that I found to be surprisingly immersive. Jeff Beal's score sounds good throughout the channels, while little sounds such as footsteps and paint strokes sound great too. There's some nice surrounds with cars driving too (and of course, the tragic end). Some great audio all around, I was surprised. An English Dolby Surround track plus English, French and Spanish subtitles are included. Oh yes... English closed captions too.

This special edition of "Pollock" is quite a treat. While it's not as extensive compared to other Columbia/Tri-Star special editions out there, it offers a great deal of insight and a load of information on the making of the film. Here is really a nice case of extras that are quality over quantity. I was quite happy to see the materials that were included on this disc and if you enjoyed the film, you should really check out all the supplements to get more out of the movie.

First off is an Audio Commentary with Ed Harris which I was really happy to have on board. Harris is very articulate and informative. He remembers names and locations as he praises his cast and crew. He gives information on Pollock himself, and talks a lot about making the film, his choices and his experiences. Harris is very soft here and while he is not always screen-specific, there is a lot, and I mean A LOT of information to absorb about Pollock the man and the movie itself. Harris provides a lot of details of all aspects of the production, and we can really hear all of his passion. This is a great commentary and one of the best I've heard in a really long time. If you liked the movie or interested in Pollock himself, do not miss this. It's worth the time and it's a great, all-around listen. I can't praise this commentary enough, it was quite refreshing to hear.

The Making-of Documentary lasts a good twenty-two minutes, and is a better then usual documentary. The documentary, entitled "Pollock Behind-The Scenes", features clips from the movie, behind-the-scenes footage on the set and a whole slew of interviews with Harris, producer Fred Berner, Marcia Gay Harden, producer James Trezzer, Amy Madigan and a few others. This documentary is broken down into a few sections, and it gives it a nice touch. It even has some stills, footage and information on the real Jackson Pollock. It's not very promotional at all which I liked, and it really focuses on the production, the passion Ed Harris has for the movie and a lot of stuff. Don't miss it whatever you do. A perfect way to make a documentary or featurette.

Charlie Rose Interviews Ed Harris lasts twenty-six minutes, and it's a full chat between them that appeared on one of Rose's episodes. I mentioned before how much I love Rose as an interviewer. He's a smart guy and really gets into the materials, and this is a very intelligent conversation. There are clips from the movie, but Harris basically focuses on how he got interested in the man, making the movie and a whole lot of stuff. Harris is humble and soft-spoken. A very good and informative interview. If you don't have the time to listen to the commentary, you'll get some of that in here.

There are Four Deleted Scenes. The sound isn't great and video-ish non-anamorphic widescreen is pretty terrible. Still, they are a nice watch and I don't know why they were cut. Harris does not provide an optional commentary, but these scenes are short and I felt all of them added a lot onto the movie and the characters. The scenes are "The Cedar Bar", "Lee's Painting" (great acting from Harden here), "Infinity At My Fingertips" and "Stray Dogs". Despite the horrendous quality, don't miss them.

Rounding the disc out are some Filmographies and Theatrical Trailers for "Pollock" and "ThirtyTwo Short Films About Glenn Gould" in full frame. Also, like usual, Columbia/Tri-Star has provided some excellent Keep Case Insert Production Notes. There's also a Weblink for DVD-ROM users.

A fascinating and entertaining film, Harris' directorial debut is a triumph in biography movies and acting. This is a great DVD edition for a very good film, so don't miss it!

(4/5 - NOT included in final score)




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