Review| BLISS: A DARK ILLUSION OF PARADISE

An Amazon Prime original, Bliss, puts two headliners together to show how drug-induced paradise can warp the mind about the real world with all its messy struggles and strife. No matter what kind of life you have lived, there is a level of empathy you may have as you watch the pair struggle to survive their realities.

Owen Wilson and Salma Hayek play Greg and Isabel. The film opens with a glazed over Greg shirking his work responsibilities. When he is called into the boss’s office, he accidentally bumps into his boss who hits his head and dies. In a panic, Greg tries to create a quick alibi in the bar across the street. Cue in Isabel. A rough-looking, seductive, bold woman who convinces Greg in a matter of minutes that they are real but everyone else is not. Thus begins the odd, trippy journey the audience takes with the pair.

The story has multiple plotlines. There is the romance between Greg and Isabel in both worlds (the “brainbox-generated” one where they struggle as a homeless couple and the posh, lavish reality where they are both Doctors of Science trying to help their privileged world feel gratitude for all that they have). In fact, the brainbox-generated reality is the “real world” and the luxurious, futuristic reality is the one created from the drugs they each taken. Another part of the plot is that Greg has two children, one of whom wants to help him get his life back on track by staying connected, and an ex-wife, but this is steeped in the “brainbox,” so for most of the movie, Greg struggles to realize this is in fact his real world. Lastly, there are the two worlds as mentioned previously. There is not much screen time for the glamorous science world, but the glimpses are mind-blowing. There are holographs, knowledge, and bliss, as the film is aptly named. The world no longer seems to be burdened by poverty, famine, or any other large issues that are apart of our 21st century.

There is also some violence in the poverty-stricken reality and protests about said poverty, but it is an issue that is not highlighted or expanded upon. In fact, it is a bit unclear just how much damage Greg and Isabel did in their drug-induced states. Throughout the movie, they would appear to have “powers” to trip people or even crush a van, but one must ask how they would have done that, especially the car, while their high. Towards the end, Isabel shoots their drug dealer, Kendo, which seems very real, and even she begins to question if she killed him or just sent him back to their paradise. It is a very mind-twisting movie that touches on a reality for some people who are affected by drug addiction, mental health issues, and homelessness. It is a clear dramatization because everyone does not go down the path Greg and Isabel chose, but there are parts of several scenes that seem relevant to the America we live in today. The film is filled with emotion, parallels, and cool effects to show how the pair see their worlds. The audience is on a rollercoaster from start to finish, trying to keep up with just which reality is real. By the end, you realize it is all about choice. Everyone chooses to be in their reality whether the person next to you is in it is up to them.