“I am a bit of disoriented, however in a great way,” Owen Wilson says about midway via “Bliss.” Whereas viewers members are more likely to agree with him on the primary a part of that sentence, the second half is debatable.
Wilson’s Greg is fired from his job and his household is in disarray. Drowning his sorrows in a bar, he meets free-spirited Isabel Clemens (Salma Hayek), who tells him the true world is just not, the truth is, actual. It is a fantasy we have collectively determined to imagine in and the true actual world stands out as the seashores and dream residence that he idly sketches when he has time to kill.
I like the concept of Hayek as a kind of guardian angel/magician. From the start of her profession she has had a confidence that reads as differentworldly, and her heat and intelligence appear to emanate from somebody who’s a constructive power. Author/director Mike Cahill takes benefit of these qualities in “Bliss” but in addition introduces a component of thriller: Is Isabel truly searching for Greg or are a few of her unusual actions, equivalent to slipping medicine into his drinks and convincing him to run shadowy errands, proof that she’s a huckster who spouts mumbo-jumbo to cover the truth that she’s as much as no good?
That query may resonate extra if another person had been solid as Greg. Wilson initiatives a droll vulnerability, however in nearly all of his films, it might be simple to imagine that he is the huckster who’s as much as no good. That is a difficulty in “Bliss” as a result of we’re alleged to be on his aspect right here and I used to be by no means positive I used to be.
That is most likely a superb level to acknowledge that I am not an enormous fan of the sort of thoughts video games Cahill needs to play in “Bliss” and in his earlier options “I Origins” and “One other Earth,” all of which use mysticism and surreal visions to counsel that our world is just not what it appears.
OK, perhaps — I imply, I’ve a therapeutic candle or two and I’ve learn Carlos Castaneda — however one thing about the truth that films are already presenting us with a totally realized alternate actuality makes them really feel just like the flawed medium during which to say that each the fact we’re dwelling in and the one on-screen are pretend.
Lengthy story quick: “Bliss” gave me a “Zen and the Artwork of Bike Upkeep”-sized headache. It is a visually putting film, significantly in the way it differentiates between the three totally different worlds it reveals us, however it’s additionally typically foolish. Cahill’s script, for example, needs us to care in regards to the household Greg would go away behind if he lands in one other actuality, however it retains forgetting about them. And when Greg is given a “thought visualizer” to assist him see his deepest needs, it is onerous to take the factor critically when it sounds precisely like dialing into an web connection in 1998.
“Bliss” has compelling arguments about making priorities and recognizing that the issues we do not know could also be extra necessary than the issues we do, however it’s pretty humorless and it typically makes use of its woo-woo mysticism as an excuse to be obscure.
Ultimately, I nonetheless felt disoriented. And never in a great way.