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An advertising executive dies and goes to hell... except nothing changes. Well, his daughter is buying drugs with sexual favours from her brother, and the number of cancer-causing products is on the increase. But the notes he writes to himself to prove he hasn't gone insane are getting more disjointed, and he runs off with an ex-prostitute called Honey Barbera. Written by
David Carroll <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Ray Lawrence's adaptation of Peter Carey's novel is one of those rare birds
a perfect screen adaptation of a great book.
Harry Joy, an advertising executive, has a near-fatal heart attack - but when he recovers he is convinced he is in hell. And why not? His bitchy wife is having a torrid affair right under his nose, his son is trading drugs for sex with his own sister, and his ad agency represents the most destructive and polluting companies in town. Harry's life spirals out of control until he breaks away from his awful family and finds redemption in his love for the beautiful Honey Barbara.
Filled with extraordinary images, the film captures the surreal mood, the sense of hidden menace and the outrageous black humour of Carey's book, and brings the characters vividly to life.
Barry Otto, one of Australia's greatest actors, is perfect as Harry and he is brilliantly supported by an outstanding cast, including Lynette Curran as his horrible wife, Miles Buchanan as his evil and depraved son, Gia Carides as the daughter, and especially Helen Jones as his hippy 'innamorata', Honey Barbara.
If you can find it, the longer "director's cut" version is a must-see, for the amazing police-station scene - inexplicably removed from the initial release version - where Harry, under arrest after a series of bizarre and hilarious incidents, transfixes the cops with one of his famous stories. Barry Otto delivers an electrifying monologue, in one long, unedited scene, with the camera gradually pulling closer and closer to an extreme closeup of his face.
"Bliss" is director Ray Lawrence's only feature film to date - but one perfect film is better than ten duds!
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