This was a real labor of love for Ed Harris, who made his directorial debut and takes the lead as the title character.
What we get is a semi-standard biopic about renowned American abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock who revolutionized the art world in the 1940s, but was undone by his crippling mood swings, temperament, and penchant for booze...and ladies to a lesser extent.
Harris is really good and quite compelling in the title role, and there's a sense of legitimacy to the scenes where he is seen painting, especially since Harris learned to paint. He's backed by a solid supporting cast including Marcia Gay Harden in an Oscar winning turn as Pollock's wife and fellow artist Lee Krasner. She pretty much walks away with the film. There's also Amy Madigan as Peggy Guggenheim, Val Kilmer as artist and friend Willem de Kooning, and a late in the game appearance by Jennifer Connelly as Pollock's mistress Ruth Kligman.
The film is pretty good, but, like a lot of biopics, suffers from the fact that the subject isn't quite as fascinating as the work they make. Don't get me wrong, Pollock was a very fascinating individual, but the film really doesn't try to deeply probe into his mind, instead just barely getting under the surface a lot of the time. That's okay though, because it is somewhat enjoyable to see him freak out, get drunk, and be a tormented genius.
The scenes where he's painting are well done ,and quite evocative, and I dug the music too. I also enjoyed how they tried to bring about authenticity by actually filming on the real Pollock/Krasner estate.
The film is fairly by the numbers, but it does a good job at detailing the life and times of this lauded/troubled man. For a directorial debut, it's rather ambitious. Despite its faults, I still liked it, and think you should check it out.