Title: Tilt (Fantasia 2017 review)

Also known as:

Year: 2017

Genre: Psychological / Thriller / Drama

Language: English

Runtime: 99 min

Director: Kasra Farahani

Writer: Kasra Farahani & Jason O'Leary

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5435476/

Struggling to complete his second documentary, the unemployed filmmaker Joseph Burns begins to lose himself in the process after finding out that his wife is pregnant. The worries about the future and whether his new documentary can make more money than his last film put a strain on his well-being.

Our thoughts:
If there is one thing that modern independent film has done very well, it's slow and methodic psychological thrillers. Every year, large parts of our "Best of the Year" lists consists of movies like these. Some of my recent favorites have been "Dark", "The Invitation", "Always Shine", "Demon" and "The Alchemist Cookbook" -- and these were just last year alone! Modern technology makes it easier for those with small but vivid visions to make movies, and they can take big risks by actually holding back. Kasra Farahani's "Tilt" supports this claim completely. It doesn't matter that we've seen people descend into madness before, because Kasra Farahani's vision along with Joseph Cross in the lead role makes this a maddening, tragic story of a man's struggle.

Years ago, Joseph Burns made a pinball documentary called "Tilt". Despite not making that much money, it was a complete success in Joseph's eyes. Now he is making his second documentary, while his hardworking wife is pregnant, and he simply can't get the work done. His internal struggles to meet his own expectations from his last documentary, along with his wife's hopes of him helping the family financially, slowly tips him over the edge. When his time should be spent at home recording for the documentary, he instead finds himself out doing things he can't even begin to explain to his wife. At times he doesn't even know that he's doing anything at all.

"Tilt" is perhaps not the most deep-diving example into the mind of an artist, but that was never really the point here. It could easily have been a movie about filmmaking specifically, but instead it uses the lonely occupation vs. family life as a catapult for someone stressed and worried to finally snap as he is forced to think about his future.

What sets "Tilt" apart from some similarly themed movies is that you can't tell if Joseph have always had this inside of him or not, whether he is letting an evil out or if he is just going insane. I mean, yes, he is obviously going insane, but there is something very articulate in the way Joseph Cross portrays his character. He always seems to stay on right on the border of questioning his sanity and not giving a shit. He manages to show a lot of nuance in situations that could just as well be over-the-top because "he is obviously going nuts". Joseph's eyes speak louder than any words in the script ever could (not that there is anything wrong with the script!).

As a movie about a personal struggle, "Tilt" succeeds completely. There is also a more political part of the movie, as Joseph is working on a documentary about America in the '50s, a film he calls "The Golden Age", while also being in the middle of the recent presidential election (which we know now that Trump won, but Joseph has not had the displeasure of seeing yet). It tackles topics such as propaganda, jobs and careers, capitalism, which are all related to what Joseph has chosen to do with his own life. I wouldn't say that "Tilt" is a full-on political movie, but the madness of Joseph is without a doubt fueled by a political environment.

Yes, I might be a complete sucker for personal and dark drama/thrillers so perhaps I am biased here, but I found "Tilt" to be absolutely riveting. It's a story that has been told many times before, perhaps even better, but what makes this a worthy addition is the execution. You always feel a sense of madness here. It's in the direction, the script, the acting, the cinematography, the sound. If you want a movie that has a strong statement in its descent I'd recommend "Falling Down", but if you want something that slowly crawls into your mind then go with "Tilt". It's currently playing the Fantasia International Film Festival.

Positive things:
- You feel a little crazy watching it!
- Beautifully shot.
- Joseph Cross goes from likable to down-right scary.
Negative things:
- A movie about a man slowly going nuts is perhaps not the most original idea.
- At times it felt like it wanted to go even deeper with the political aspect, but never quite doing so.

Gore: 0.5/5
Nudity: 0/5
Story: 3/5
Effects: 3/5
Comedy: 0/5

We watched this movie thanks to:
Fantasia International Film Festival 2017

Reviewed by:



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