‘Bliss’ Review

Mike Cahill wants to blow your mind. That’s clear from his previous theatrical films, Another Earth and I origin, both deal with intellectually complex science fiction topics. The screenwriter/director continues on the same path with his latest attempt set in two worlds, one of which is computer simulation. Find out what elements provide the main interest of the movie starring Owen Wilson and Salma Hayek, premiering on Amazon Prime Video. Although after watching Blissful, you may not be sure. As with both of his previous works, the filmmaker delivers an undeniably ambitious thinker, biting through more than it can narratively regurgitate.

Wilson plays Greg, a sad man recently divorced who is devoted to his eldest daughter, Emily (Nesta Cooper). He spends most of his time at work drawing idyllic scenes on sticky notes, and when he is repeatedly summoned to see his boss, he instead spends his time phoning the pharmacy to get an exchange. Latest prescription. When he finally dragged himself to the meeting, he was immediately fired. And then he accidentally kills his boss.

Key point

Artificial in more ways than one.

RELEASE DATE February 5, 2021

And that wasn’t even the strangest thing that happened to him that day. Basking in his sadness in a bar, he meets a mysterious woman, Isabel (Hayek), who has captivated him with apparent romantic interest. “You are my boy,” she told him. She is also homeless, and has the magical powers of telekinesis, which she proves to Greg that he also has. She took him to rollerblading, where the two had a great time physically wreaking havoc and getting people off their feet with a wave of their hand. He didn’t need to worry that they were actually hurting anyone, she assured him, as everything around them was just a computer simulation. “It’s not real,” she declared.

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Usually, to reveal what happens next would be considered a scam. But since it’s all shown in the trailer, all bets are off. Greg suddenly wakes up, with much nicer hair, in a modernized laboratory. It was all part of a science experiment conducted by Isabel, who also looked significantly more handsome. It turns out that Greg is also a scientist who invented a device that “visualizes thoughts”. The lab is located on a beautiful island (actually Lopud, off the coast of Croatia, which would see a significant increase in tourism if enough people watched the movie), which seems to have a lot of holograms. of people as actual photos.

It’s no surprise that Greg is quite confused by all this, not quite sure what’s real and what’s fake. Viewers can relate a lot to his situation, with the script having a lot of twists and turns and twists and turns that on paper look smart but end up feeling wrong. Greg’s suspicions were increased by the advice of another scientist, who advised him that serious questions had been raised about Isabel’s research. He’s played by “Science Guy” Bill Nye, complete with a bowtie, so you know he’s trustworthy.

For all the intellectual questions a movie’s puzzle game poses, it can’t be engaged on an emotional level. We never cared about Greg and Isabel’s relationship in whatever world they were in. A spin-off involving Emily’s desperate attempts to find her missing father feels irrelevant. As with his previous films, Cahill tries to add elements of horror to the mix, but the stakes feel too contrived so it creates a bit of suspense.

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Wilson’s cute, frequent personality makes him perfect for the role, allowing viewers to fully identify Greg’s bewildered state. While Hayek is fine with her role as a doctor, she’s a bit over the top as the mysterious homeless woman who comes across as if she’s auditioning to play Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit.

Blissful boasts admirable technical elements, including well-conceived production design and cinematography that expertly depicts the two very different worlds that the main characters inhabit. But for all the movie’s imagination, it’s hard not to think we did this Matrix– like the road before. You find yourself wondering why Greg didn’t simply take the red pill.

Production company: Amazon Studios, Endgame Entertainment, Big Indie Pictures
Distributor: Amazon Prime Video
Actors: Owen Wilson, Salma Hayek, Nesta Cooper, Jorge Lendeborg, Jr., Ronny Chieng, Steve Zissis, Josh Leonard, Madeline Zima, Bill Nye
Director/screenwriter: Mike Cahill
Producer: James D. Stern
Executive Producers: Lucas Smith, Marsha L. Swinton
Director of Photography: Markus Forderer
Production designer: Kasra Farahani
Editor: Troy Takaki
Composer: Will Bates
Costume designer: Annie Bloom
Starring: Marisol Roncali, Chelsea Ellis Bloch
Have evaluated

PG-13, 103 minutes

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