You would have thought Director Mike Cahill would be the best qualified to bring a mind-bending sci-fi caper to life with the likes of ‘I’ Origins’ under his belt, but while trying to emulate the dizzying heights of the Matrix, Owen Wilson and Selma Hayek are left floating through the void of a derivative mess.
Wilson takes on the role of the gormless and unhappy office worker Greg, popping pills and working for an IT call centre. He daydreams through his days until he is fired. Thanks to an accidental scuffle with his boss, his boss end’s up dead and Wilson goes on the run. Well, when I say run, he ends up in the bar opposite his office where he meets the uber annoying, fierce bohemian Isabel played by a hyper-active Hayek. Stating that he is real, she begins to unravel her insanity by declaring they are living in a simulation and everyone around them are nothing but part of this simulated world.
Unfortunately, that’s as good as it gets as Greg and Isabel traverse everyday life with the aid of yellow crystals, crystals that appear to give them special powers of manipulating people and things around them with the wave of a finger, mostly for amusement at the detriment of others, probably a failed attempt at injecting a bit of humour. As the relationship between the pair becomes more and more intense, Isabel’s behaviour becomes more erratic when the appearance of Greg’s daughter from his failed marriage tries to find and rescue her father.
This is exactly where this film is missing a trick, whilst keeping the audience guessing as to whether this world is actually real or not, it skims over the story of his children and the effect of his obvious addiction has on those on the outskirts of his life or even his feelings on finding out they may not even be real in the first place. It feels like it’s been thrown in for good measure with no real thought put into its effectiveness to the storyline as a whole.
When Greg’s inquisitive mind is about to explode from the talk of the real world, it’s time to take a trip by snorting blue crystals to their world of opulence and this is where the shit really hits the fan. Performance-wise, Wilson has reverted to type, seeming to be reliving his earlier acting career with gullible naivety whilst Hayek is in her element on some kind of acid trip that gives any real-life to an otherwise dull conclusion.
Bliss hits Amazon Prime on February 5th