"A unique haze of addiction"
From the mind of writer/ director Mike Cahill, Bliss doesn’t disappointment when it comes to exploring the ideas of other worlds. Just as his previous works; I Origin and Another World, this dreamy, love drug induced tale is just the cocktail anyone missing Black Mirror needs right now.
This is subtle science fiction, the kind that we actually live with every day… hoovers that clean all by themselves, your face recognition on your phone or the simple fact that Facebook remembers you are so integrated so deeply into our day to day lives we forget computer science behind them.
When away with fairies Greg accidentally kills his boss, Isabel captures him with her 'powers' taking him well and truly down a rabbit hole that isn’t so easy to get out of. ‘You know you’re real, right?’ What if we are living in a simulation? What if we are on the Truman Show? Through a series of unexplained reasons why he is in a simulation and needs blue or yellow crystals to survive our two characters find themselves intertwined.
The sinister reality that things are truly this bad; homelessness is consuming the streets and there are more and more people with mental illnesses reaching for drugs than ever before becomes nearly too much stomach. Cahill has carefully crafted an exploration of addiction and mental health with this narrative, making us work for it. A leisurely pace matched with a disgruntled and groggy Grey, leaves the first hour being anything but bliss; yet when we get snorted (quite literally) back to ‘reality’ the simulation becomes all too raw to absorb. The warmth, the colours, the idyllic setting brings utter joy, bliss some might say and unfortunately a rather schmaltzy Wilson. I mean let’s face it, it wouldn’t be a film with Wilson, without his ‘wow’ now would it?
The comparisons with Black Mirror, Prime’s recent Soulmates; as well as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Minds filter through as you absorb this drama.
The chaotic colliding of the two worlds painfully portrays how we as society choose to ignore the bigger problems, shove them down into the depths and cover them with fancy drinks and boat trips. The stark contrast of our two worlds, a slight grain, low-grade feel married perfectly with unnerving atmospheric chimes verses an almost magical shift in light, oranges and blues evoke a visual high in more than once sense. It’s the last 30 minutes that truly captivate you here; as Wilson and Hayek bend to both worlds it’s evident you can’t have your cake and eat it.
Don’t hold your breath for a big reveal, for the final bow. Underneath it all, this is a bleak look at our world, a through rose tinted glasses Utopian if you want to kid yourself. This isn’t, all funny, smiley Wilson, or for that matter, sexy, snake wrapped around her Hayek, these guys dig deep and give us complex performances driven by an equally ambitious narrative. Bliss will certainly keep you busy whilst waiting for the next glitch in the Matrix.