At the very beginning of 'Bliss' comes a warning that there are a lot of flashing lights in the movie and that epileptic people should be warned. Now I'm not epileptic in any way but man did I struggle to watch the opening credits. It was almost hypnotic, I wanted to look away but couldn't. This was an early indicator that this would be a very visually unique movie. A lot of bizarre and fascinating imagery is thrown at the audience. It's not an aspect of movies I typically notice but I couldn't help but be aware of it in this case. The film had a bit of a 'Requiem for a Dream' vibe about it, particularly early on. There is a lot of heavy drug use featured in the film - in fact that's more or less what it's about. If you want to give your children a "don't do drugs" lesson this could be a good film to throw at them. It doesn't particularly glamourise them at all, in fact it makes them look downright nasty. The final third of this film really changes everything and makes it into an almost entirely different film. I guess it's what makes it fall into the "horror" category. To be honest that was probably my least favourite element to the film. I could see why they went that way, and it tied in beautifully with the painting that is central to the film, but it just didn't work for me. Because no other characters are ever given any screen time or introduced to us in anyway it was impossible to care about any of them, and so the end scenes had almost zero intensity. 'Bliss' is a very quick little film (sitting at about 80 minutes) that has some really interesting stuff going on, but just struggles to combine it all into a fluent package. The ideas are all there, the execution is just slightly off.
A brilliant painter facing the worst creative block of her life turns to anything she can to complete her masterpiece, spiraling into a hallucinatory hellscape of drugs, sex, and murder in the sleazy underbelly of Los Angeles.
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October 15, 2019