Newest Reviews
Dreams on Fire
Sing as We Go!
Burnt Orange Heresy, The
Craft Legacy, The
Eye of the Storm
Inflatable Sex Doll of the Wastelands
Where No Vultures Fly
Come True
Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché
Madchen in Uniform
Fire Will Come
Jailbreak Pact
News of the World
Beyond Clueless
Stylist, The
Sky is On Fire, The
Wrong Turn
In a Year with 13 Moons
Strange Affair of Uncle Harry, The
Sinners, The
Tammy and the T-Rex
State Secret
Mogul Mowgli
Owners, The
Twentieth Century, The
Story of Gilbert and Sullivan, The
What Lies Below
Dead Pigs
Willy's Wonderland
It's in the Air
Newest Articles
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
  Bliss Reality Bites
Year: 1985
Director: Ray Lawrence
Stars: Barry Otto, Lynette Curran, Helen Jones, Gia Carides, Miles Buchanan, Jeff Truman, Tim Robertson, Bryan Marshall, Jon Ewing, Kerry Walker, Paul Chubb
Genre: Comedy, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Harry Joy (Barry Otto) lived a mundane life out in the Australian suburbs, working as an advertising executive, married with a couple of teenage kids, and he loved to tell stories, just as his father used to tell him stories. However, one day on his birthday, he was at a small party in his house with his family and a couple of friends when he ventured out into the garden only to keel over from a heart attack. He was dead for four minutes until the medics revived him, but after that he was never very sure if he was actually in the afterlife or not...

And if he was in the afterlife, was he in heaven or was he in hell? Ray Lawrence, never the most prolific of filmmakers, made this adaptation of Peter Carey's novel to some acclaim in Australia, but seen from this remove it's tempting to consider it overrated. It was apparently designed for middle aged men entering their mid-life crises, so Harry, who is indeed one of those men, tries to make sense of the world around him and realises that everything he thought he knew may not exactly be true. For example, his wife Bettina (Lynette Curran) is having an affair with his friend, something illustrated by having the two of them have sex in full view of oblivious restaurant patrons.

Yes, we were in surrealist territory, and that meant several bizarre scenes and images that in movie form did not quite fit in with the rather routine drama they were being married to. The trouble was that for all its bells and whistles of weirdness, there was an unexceptional story at the centre of this, and while Harry was sympathetic enough, he did not particularly merit the attention a two hour movie would have awarded him if it had not been for the odd paths and incidents that were bolted onto his experiences. Therefore you can be diverted by such scenes as his son demanding a blow job from his sister in return for cocaine, but not much of it had any resonance.

You never felt as if you were watching someone's authentic worldview, as it came across as too much of a writer's construct - and that was another issue in that you got the impression that this would probably have been wise and witty on the page, yet simply did not translate to the cinema (that might not have been your opinion if you'd read the novel, however). After his heart attack, Harry is set on his course to self-fulfilment, and that will not involve his family, who are all revealed pretty swiftly to be a corrupt lot, but couple that to his disillusionment with his job in advertising, and you have a man unsure of where to go next, after all his whole meaning in life revolved around those things.

This spends far too long in offering Harry his light at the end of the tunnel, and as a consequence you may find it dragging from one blackly comic vignette to another, so whether you actually laugh at this is another question. On the other hand, Lawrence did come up with some genuinely striking images, and you can tell his feeling for Harry's predicament is sincere as he moves from everyday existence to getting back to nature and trying to woo the prostitute, Honey Barbara (Helen Jones), who he senses can bring about his redemption. Will she be won over, or will such incidents as Harry having his car sat upon by an elephant and being arrested by the police for the state of his vehicle, or more awkward, being admitted to a mental hospital, put a spanner in the works of his improvement? The answer arrives by and by, but sustaining the interest may be too much for the average viewer. Music by Peter Best.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 2789 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan


Last Updated: