Bliss (1985) DVD
Director: Ray Lawrence
Writers: Ray Lawrence (screenplay), Peter Carey (screenplay)
Stars: Barry Otto, Lynette Curran, Helen Jones
After suffering a near-death experience, an executive realizes that his seemingly ideal life has become a horrifying nightmare in this dark Australian satire. Based on the novel by Peter Carey, who also penned the screenplay, the film begins with a deceptively calm, idyllic day in the life of ad man Harry Joy (Barry Otto). A heart attack leads Harry to experience a brief moment of brain death, however, and he awakens with a far darker vision of the world. In quick succession, he learns that his wife is cheating on him, his son has become a drug dealer, and his daughter is a junkie. Even his perfect career has become a nightmare, as he discovers that his latest client is in fact a heartless, deadly polluter. Enraged, Harry is determined to live a morally righteous life, a notion that proves an anathema to everyone around him. Several memorably bleak and explicit sequences may repel some viewers, while others will be disappointed that the satire becomes slower and less focused as the film continues. Nevertheless, Bliss's daring, bitter look at the modern world received a good deal of critical acclaim, particularly in its home country, where it won an Australian Academy Award.