Usually, when films try and copy other films, it's seen as a cash grab. An incredibly transparent move by producers who see something successful and try to replicate that very success for their own gain. But in the instance of Bliss, it's clear that the old adage of imitation being the greatest form of flattery is indeed a fact.
Bliss stars Owen Wilson as a daydreaming executive at a computer repair company who has recently gone through a divorce. His dazed attitude toward working leads his boss to fire him. On his way out of his job, Wilson is introduced to Salma Hayek. He falls for Hayek as she convinces him that the world around him is a simulation. There is a lot more going on in the story, but this is the kind of film where ignorance is in fact…Bliss.
Bliss is by far one of the darkest films that Owen Wilson has starred in. Obviously, this isn't too hard when you compare it to films like Wedding Crashers and Cars. This however doesn't detract from the point that this story is incredibly hard-hitting and emotional, but it will also leave you with a few questions lingering. It covers a lot of themes that will be familiar to fans of The Matrix and Total Recall. It blends the best parts of both of those films and turns them into a fantastic and deep journey. It's a science fiction roller coaster that rockets along. This pace can sometimes be to its detriment as there are some points that do get a little brushed over. Though you could argue that that may very well be the point.
Owen Wilson is not playing against type as Greg Wittle. There are points where you do expect him to say “WOOOW!”. But this isn't a bad thing at all. The journey that Salma Hayek takes Wilson on is all the more exciting with his recognisable charm and childlike wonder. It wouldn't be a stretch to say that this role was perfect for Owen Wilson.
Technically, Bliss is stunning. The film is incredibly beautifully shot. The colours of some of the locations are mesmerising while others look drab and depressing. These perfectly capture the emotions of Wittle as he moves from scene to scene. One little trick that was really amazing was a lens flare that's a rainbow which shows up a lot in a few scenes. There are also some incredible special effects and editing on display throughout the film but it becomes especially great in the final thirty minutes of the film.
Bliss is an incredibly unique, beautiful, pondering, and depressing film. Sometimes it doesn't quite hit the way it wants to but it's definitely worth a watch.
Dir: Mike Cahill
Scr: Mike Cahill
Cast: Owen Wilson, Salma Hayek, Nesta Cooper
Prd: James D. Stern
DoP: Markus Forderer
Music: Will Bates
Runtime: 103 mins
Bliss is available on Amazon Prime now