Monday, August 19, 2019

Bliss - 2019 NBFF Movie Review

Dora Madison in Bliss (2019)

The Movie: Bliss

The Director: Joe Begos

The Cast: Dora Madison, Tru Collins, Rhys Wakefield, Jeremy Gardner, Graham Skipper, Chris McKenna, Rachel Avery, George Wendt

The Story: 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.

Dora Madison in Bliss (2019)

The Review:
If you are a fan of drug fueled, blood soaked, heavy metal vampire movies then film maker Joe Begos has a movie for you. The whole thing is like a 90 minute deranged, spiraling out of control MTV music video (Yes, MTV used to show music videos, it was kind of their thing) combines with elements of Interview with a Vampire if it had been directed by Gaspar Noé. If there's one downside  to the movie it would be that it gets a little repetitive in how the lead character goes through the same drug and debauchery experience every night without the stakes being raised more than a little but each time. It would have been a more satisfying experience if there had been a sharper increase in intensity with higher stakes as the story unfolded.

At the forefront of this movie is the performance turned in by Dora Madsen who plays Dezzy, a character Begos says is loosely based on himself, I'm guessing just without all the vampire stuff at least. Dora explores every facet and detail of the character and holds nothing back as Dezzy leaps head first into one of the more horrifyingly intense thrill rides a person could ever take. Oh, and check this out. George freakin' Wendt is in the movie! Even though his screen time is limited, it was great to see the actor, known primarily for his role on Cheers, in a movie like this.

Working off of a limited budget, Begos gets the most out of every frame of 16mm film that he uses and I'm convinced half the budget had to have been spent on all the buckets of (hopefully) fake blood used throughout the production. Using 16mm film was a wise choice for this movie as it visually added to the dark and demonic vibe which would have been lost filming with crystal clear digital cameras. Begos also gets the most out of the format while still creating a lot of visual magic and mind bending imagery which really helps to sell the horrific events that Dezzy subjects herself to.

Bliss review

The Verdict:
Bliss is the drug induced vampire art project you've been waiting for. Highly stylized and filled with rage, this movie will take you on a heavy metal soundtracked highway to hell.

Bliss is an official selection of the 2019 North Bend Film Festival.

To keep track of all my reviews, interviews and festival coverage please go to: TwoOhSix at NBFF 2019

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