Robert Knott

Robert Knott

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Appaloosa Review


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Unlike its immediate predecessors, which have retooled (Unforgiven), remade (3:10 To Yuma), revered (Open Range), and re-imagined (The Proposition) the genre, Ed Harris' Appaloosa is simply content being a good Western. It's unapologetic of its formula, unwilling to waver in its characterizations, and unhurried in its pace. It tells a story you've heard before -- more than once -- but it handles its business with rugged aplomb. That ought to be enough. But for some reason, it isn't.

It's 1882, and the intimidating landowner Randall Bragg (Jeremy Irons) casts a long shadow over the New Mexico town of Appaloosa. With three booming gun blasts, the film establishes Bragg's cold-blooded disdain for authority and utter lack of morals. Man, how I wish Appaloosa gave this character more time to breathe, develop, and wreck proper havoc.

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Pollock Review


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Please, please, please, please, please read the book that formed the basis of the movie Pollock. Jackson Pollock: An American Saga won the Pulitzer Prize for a good reason: It's a 934-page masterpiece that gets into the guts of the artist now being celebrated on celluloid by Ed Harris. Published in 1989 and written by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith, the tome contains everything about Pollock that was left out of Harris' up-and-down movie -- and, unfortunately, that means 99 percent of the demons, doubters, friends, and forces that inspired Pollock to drink, paint, drink, and paint again.

A good example: Pollock was suicidal, maniacal and violent throughout his 44-year life. The first sentence of Naifeh's and Smith's book -- the very first sentence -- is this quote from Pollock: "I'm going to kill myself." Explains a lot, but for some odd reason, Harris only hints at Pollock's suicidal tendencies in his long-anticipated film.

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Pollock Review


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As an actor portraying the inner turmoil of Jackson Pollock -- the revolutionary abstractionist known for his splatter-and-drip painting style -- Ed Harris gives a commanding, potent performance in "Pollock" that is a torrential mix of the artist's chaotic talent and his more chaotic psyche.

As a director depicting Jackson Pollock's world, Ed Harris (yes, he did double-duty on this film) captures with vivid, lively authenticity both the astute yet pretentious buzz of the 1940s Manhattan art scene and his subject's tumultuous personal life, marked by hard drinking and a stormy long-term affair with fellow painter Lee Krasner (Marcia Gay Harden).

Together Ed Harris the actor and Ed Harris the director create an imposing, invigorating cinematic biography fueled by its subject's stubborn, manic energy and his strangely uncommunicative charisma.

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