Written and Directed by Mike Cahill
Produced by James D. Stern
Starring Owen Wilson, Salma Hayek, Nesta Cooper
Plot: Bliss is a mind-bending love story following Greg (Owen Wilson) who, after recently being divorced and then fired, meets the mysterious Isabel (Salma Hayek), a woman living on the streets and convinced that the polluted, broken world around them is nothing but a computer simulation. Doubtful at first, Greg eventually discovers there may be some truth to Isabel’s wild conspiracy.
First, Greg (Wilson) struggles to stay focused on life after a divorce, which causes him to lose his job. Upon the loss of his job, he meets a strange character (Hayek) in a bar, and this begins to blur the line of fiction and reality. Although the alternative reality is playing out in front of our eyes, Greg begins to see that what he is being made to believe isn’t real by Isabel is real, and it has consequences to the actions.
As we begin to see Greg unravel deeper into this despair, Isabel tests his sanity and relationship with his daughter. Greg starts to put the pieces together, which causes Isabel to lose her mind and attempt to trap him into the world she has created.
Generally, when you associate the style of movies with Owen Wilson, it is a comedy but has had some fantastic turns in drama films (Wonder, Midnight in Paris). Wilson is brilliant in this film and gives one of the best performances of his career. I was sold on an emotional level of which he was given within his words. Wilson had some help with his co-star in Salma Hayek, who was equally electric in the film. The pair are a delight to watch on the screen during their journey within their respective roles during the good and bad times.
Beyond the performances and the wild ride the writers bring us through, Will Bates’s score is a delight to hear and how the highs and lows are enhanced because of the sounds he provides us. Another standout was Markus Forderer’s beautiful cinematography.
For the most part, the movie clicks on all cylinders. I did have an issue with the length of the film. While it only has a run time of an hour-forty, it still feels like around the second and third act could have had some trimming to put those pieces together better.
Lastly, we have this crazy race to the finish ending unfolding in front of our eyes. Because of the nature of the film, they put themselves in a little bit of a box. It was a little choppy on the delivery, but the landing stuck with a fantastic close to this crazy thrill ride.
‘Owen Wilson delights as Bliss is a fun mind-bending thrill-ride.’