Bliss is ambitious in scope with some interesting ideas but fails to deliver anything even vaguely entertaining
Bliss centers around the idea that giving people a worse reality will make them appreciate their real life even more. Films about multiple realities and consciousness’s can be difficult to pull off on screen but skilled story tellers keep tight controls of the story elements, so they stand up to scrutiny. Films like Inception and even the Matrix ensure rules are in place for the audience to suspend their understanding of reality and take the journey. It feels like Writer/Director wanted to explore ideas seen in films like the Matrix with Salma Hayek in the role of Morpheus, freeing Greg from this false reality. The problem is, the audience are not given any rules to follow or any semi believable science to engage the ‘maybe this could happen’ aspects of their minds
None of the ideas presented really work. We never become invested in the characters or their plight. The performances are uneven and inconsistent, especially from Salma Hayek’s Isabel who is a brilliant groundbreaking scientist in one reality and a whiny, erratic, needy girlfriend in the other. There is no explanation for such a drastic change in character. Owen Wilson’s relationship with his daughter is supposed to be an emotional anchor for the film but even that fails to deliver any real feelings.
The world Greg inhabits is purposely dulled and greyed to reflect the blandness of his life and also emphasise the wonder and light of the real world when later revealed by Isabel. But apart from sunshine, a swimming pool and fruit, there wasn’t much ‘wonder’ here. This was supposed to represent a perfect enviable existence but that also failed to make an impression. The manner through which they travel between worlds is ill conceived and inconsistent. A convoluted system of taking a certain number of crystals which can only be manufactured in the ‘fake world’?! These two develop powers to bend and affect the fake world because its merely a simulated creation yet it doesn’t stop them being arrested by the police and restrained by the authorities.
There is every chance that I have completely missed the point of the film and all this actually occurs in Greg’s head. Isabel really is a homeless unhinged lady with a designer drug she gets Greg hooked on. These two drug addicts share a psychosis of a better life where they are important people. Every time the drug wears off, they become powerless and disorientated, like most addicts. Even if the above was true, the movie fails to tell a coherent story about addiction. The relationship between Greg and Isabel lacked any real chemistry and it seemed unlikely these personality types would ever find themselves in a relationship. The foundation of this film is the relationship between the two leads. Many things could have been forgiven if that at least worked but it failed to connect
I was looking forward to this film, I even had it featured as one of my most wanted movies for February so to say I am disappointed is an understatement. Things like plot holes, inconsistent story lines and dodgy science could be excused if the film or the characters were at least fun to watch, who doesn’t love a popcorn movie sometimes? But this is a joyless experience, unredeemable by even its usually very likable stars. If you are looking for something to watch this February, I couldn’t recommend this less. If you have seen it and I missed the point, please feel free to fill me in below in the comments