While in some ways it is predictable, including a disturbing final act, the film contains a hypnotic quality about it thanks to an insanely possessed Harris, who is just splendid and you can tell he is very passionate about this particular person.
The movie shows how he paints stuff without hiding...that was really interesting.... Either he really is a good painter or he has been well trained to do the stuff that he does in the movie.
This film is as much about the business of art and creativity as it is about the work itself. It's not simply an inspiring picture documenting the excitement and passion that goes into making art but the self-doubt, compromise, and hard work that goes into making a living at it. 'Pollock' doesn't dive as deep into its subject as other biopics like 'Freda', but as the man himself says, "You don't look at a bed of flowers and tear your hair out wondering what it means." I think that's a useful mantra for participating in any form of art but when you make a film about a figure as interesting as Pollock was, I think you owe the audience to let them get under his skin a little deeper than simply portraying him as a self-destructive alcoholic.
As you would expect from a first-time director, the film is fairly straightforward and linear in its storytelling, with some minor deviations. This simplicity was a problem for me in telling the story of a prominent abstract painter. Jackson Pollock had such an original eye that it makes the film's traditionalism disappointing.
Ultimately, this is a movie made for people who aren't so familiar with the man at its center. If you're looking for a deep portrait of what made Jackson Pollock tick, you're barking up the wrong tree. However, the performances are powerful, starting with Harris and Marcia Gay-Harden's intense leads and also the subtle brilliance of Jeffrey Tambor as an ever-present art critic.
As the film builds to its unavoidably tragic ending, all joy and energy is removed from the action, save a few smiles from Pollack's adulterous lover Ruth (Jennifer Connoly). Unfortunately, at the end, we don't understand Pollock much more than we understand his work.