"Pollock" film critique"Pollock" (2001) deals with the subject of Abstract Expressionism by using a very interesting strategy. Framing Abstract Expressionism as a "movement" in American art, though the cohesiveness of the group of artists associated with Abstract Expressionism or lack of it is never really explored, the film functions through metonymy, allowing Pollock to represent the whole of Abstract Expressionism. For this reason, the chief message that the film conveys to its audience about Abstract Expressionism is hard to pin down, since the film goes about an exploration of Pollock the artist through an exploration of Pollock the man.
"Pollock" focuses primarily on Pollock's personal life. The film's exploration of Pollock's internal character, however, is based on his fits of rage and alcoholism that seemed to define him throughout. Overall, Pollock appears as a failed man in most respects. He seems fundamentally separate from his friends or from his peers, unable to relate to them in a successful manner.
In the scene at the bar, for example, Pollock engages less in dialogue with the other men at the table and more in a monologue as he asserts his views about Picasso ("a has-been") and other artists, leaving his audience and the audience of the film wondering what he thinks of himself as he responds with silence to one friend's question, "What do you think of Jackson Pollock?" He denigrates the traditional canon of artists and his contemporaries in a way that seems almost absurdly arrogant and which isolates him from other artists.
This one-sided configuration of relationships continues with the film's portrayal of Pollock's relationship with and marriage to Lee Krasner. He acts completely without any consideration of her throughout the film. He yells at and emotionally abuses Krasner when she refuses to have a child with...