With a premise including, but not limited to, drug- and alcohol-induced eroticism, sadism (with a touch of vampirism) and a creative outlet in the shape of painting you’d think that Bliss would definitely be a film for me. However, what transpires amidst the flat-out, admittedly amazing, craziness is spending time with a really unlikable character in Dezzy (Dora Madison). Now I’m all for her being able to pursue her own path and treat everyone else like she wants to but it does begin to grate as the behaviour repeats itself, all the while Dezzy becomes increasingly belligerent and obnoxious in her quest for more.
The slow build up and scene-setting are present, but I never found it to be in an interesting way, much more a chaotic and meandering path that ultimately didn’t provide anything by way of character development beyond the base motivations of drug taking and getting her precious painting completed. And this was the problem for me: it just takes too damn long to get to the interesting point where the shit all starts to kick off. But to give Bliss the credit where it is deserved, when it does go down it does it in some style and shockingly so. Everything hits the fan and it doesn’t hold back. Bliss is not afraid to take it to the darkest of places, coat everything in blood and gore and continue on the next day as if nothing has happened.
Complimenting this change in momentum and pace there is a change in style as the camera becomes that much more chaotic and, with scenes reminiscent of the camerawork in Upgrade it gives Bliss an entirely different feel to the earlier scenes, which I really liked. Throw in the artistic plot and tone of The Devil’s Candy aligned with a spot of Near Dark’s tone and atmosphere, coat it all in blood and bathe everything in deep red colours of Mandy and you might just touch somewhere near where Bliss ends up.
Joe Begos undoubtedly has talent and I dug the style and the culmination of where Bliss ended up, I just didn’t get on with at all with the first half of the film.