I’m finally back to blogging! It’s been a while, and by that, I mean a really, REALLY long time ago (my last review here was posted August 2016!). Now that I’m finally back, the first movie I’m going to review for this year is Jerrold Tarog‘s psychosexual thriller Bliss, starring Iza Calzado.
Bliss is the story of Jane Ciego, a TV superstar in her 30s, who wants to elevate her status as an actress by starring in her own self-produced film. While filming, a tragic accident happens to Jane, and when she wakes up, she finds herself locked in a house, only with her husband and a nurse, where twisted things start happening to her.
First off, I’d like to say that this movie is a bit disturbing (in a wonderful way), especially for people who aren’t used to the themes explored in it. I somehow understand why MTRCB gave this an R-18 (though I think an R-16 would’ve been fine). There’s nudity, sex, blood, violence, excessive cursing, and all that, but it remains as artfully executed as possible. Also, the amount of attention given, even to the smallest of details, is amazing.
Now, for the acting, Iza Calzado upped her game in this movie. She gives it all in her performance, yet she still comes off as natural as possible. TJ Trinidad, Ian Veneracion, and the rest of the cast delivered very well, but it is Adrienne Vergara who stood out the most amongst the supporting cast. I don’t really know her, and it’s my first time seeing her and hearing her name, but she definitely caught my attention. She was given a very challenging character to portray, not to mention one that’s pivotal to the story, and she just blows everyone away.
All these performances don’t go to waste under the masterful direction of Jerrold Tarog. Tarog, who is known for his work in the groundbreaking historical epic Heneral Luna, has outdone himself with this film. He has created a world loaded with layers of complex storytelling. It’s full of fantasy, yet so close to reality, and it even gets to a point where the lines between them are so blurred, it’s hard to determine which is which, leaving us to do the thinking ourselves.
Tarog also scored the film himself, and the way he does it is just perfect. It’s very subtle, yet intense at the same time. That must be the advantage of having the director and writer of the film as the scorer, it gives the filmmaker much more control and consistency as to how the movie is supposed to look and sound. The song choices are wonderful, turning the creepiness up a notch, and I’ve got to say, they’ve been stuck in my head since I heard it.
Bliss brings Philippine cinema to a whole new level. One where filmmakers aren’t afraid to tell stories, one where we aren’t just limited to cheesy rom-coms, corny comedies, and sappy dramas. Bliss is a different experience, one that is rare in these times. It’s one of the best Filipino films I’ve seen in recent years, and it surely is something I would watch over and over again. Sadly, it’s R-18 rating will put off some people and limit its audience, but I say f*ck it, go see it, for the love of Philippine cinema.
My Rating: 10/10
Here is the full trailer for Bliss: