Everyone is after a little bit of escapism these days, the coronavirus pandemic seeing us in lockdowns now for the best part of a year. Films are a great way to free your mind for a few hours but films that focus on their respective protagonists seeking their own form of escapism offer a chance to go deeper down the rabbit hole that blurs the line between real life and fantasy.

A mind-bending love story following Greg (Owen Wilson) who, after recently being divorced and then fired, meets the mysterious Isabel (Salma Hayek), a woman living on the streets and convinced that the polluted, broken world around them is a computer simulation.
Owen Wilson and Salma Hayek make for a very peculiar duo in Bliss, a slow-burning sci-fi love story that blends reality with fantasy in quite intriguing fashion. Wilson has been a favourite of mine when it comes to comedy actors, ranging from the whacky to playing it much more straight, and he shines here as a man who has his eyes opened to what could well be a distorted reality.

Alongside Wilson, Hayek is let loose and she delivers an energetic and chaotic performance that totally contrasts with his straight-laced traits. It's a little rocky to start however, once the film hits its stride, the pair are incredibly engaging and share an undeniable chemistry that helped maintain an interest in the film.

I'm all for films that slowly build to their conclusion but Bliss nearly damages itself by dragging its heels a little in the middle act. It starts really well, setting up its fascinating premise and dropping hints of what is real or not before losing its way a little about halfway through. Sticking with it though leads to an improved final act that draws to a rather emotional conclusion.

Mike Cahill has some fun with the set-up, the roller disco sequence being the moment that stands out however, you could argue that he doesn't do enough with the potential of such a narrative. It's certainly a good effort but I can't help but think it had a chance to be a really great sci-fi romance. 

Verdict: ★★★


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