Bliss (1986)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Black Comedy  |   Release Date - Feb 21, 1986 (USA)  |   Run Time - 111 min.  |   Countries - Australia, United States  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Michael Betzold

Caustic and brittle, this Australian black comedy is based on a novel of the same name by Peter Carey. The protagonist is an advertising executive named Harry Joy (Barry Otto) who survives a near-death experience from a heart attack. The world he awakens to is a nightmare, and he finds his conventionally happy life has concealed from him a number of bizarre family and career problems. It's an interesting twist on the many films in which dying brings beneficence; here, it's just the opposite. Director Ray Lawrence milks the absurdity of the surreal situations for laughs and pathos in a take-no-prisoners style that challenges audiences' tolerance for eccentricity. The film won the Australian Film Institute's award for Best Picture of 1985 and came after the crest of the Australian New Wave.