Recently played at the Fantasia International Film Festival, we had the chance to see “Tilt”, a film that brings us the story of Joseph Burns, a unemployed documentary director that once enjoyed a modest success with his first documentary, and have been trying to complete his next project ever since, getting constantly distracted by one thing or another. His wife Joanne, who has been supporting him through all this time (both morally and economically) makes him realize that now that there is a baby on the way, it might just be the time to come back to the regular workforce and put the documentary on hold.
Joseph’s mental crusade about destroying the myth of “The Golden Age in the U.S.” thru his documentary, turns into a complicated obsession when he sees than nobody seems to be even remotely interested in the theme of his project, even when someone like Donald Trump starts to place himself on the television as a candidate for the U.S. presidency, using the same myth (according to Joseph) to turn the masses to support him and his purposes…
As days goes by, Joseph tries without success to show enthusiasm for his future as a parent, and the idea of finding a stable source of income. What we see however, is that maybe as a form of retaliation for being forced into responsibilities he was not fond of, he starts to set a series of accidents where Joan gets hurt. Also with the excuse of needing to clear his thoughts for the documentary, Joseph starts to walk around the neighborhood late at nights, but in reality he is just stalking people from different social status, maybe looking for someone to unleash his anger with… or to continue something sinister that was already there and now he has decided to hide no longer…
“Tilt” is a complicated film to digest (and recommend). It has several interesting messages (some subtle, other not so much) that clearly reflect the anxiety of a lot of people in the current political environment, mixed with Joseph’s transition from a apparently liberal “social justice” oriented individual to a very dark person that in theory would fully embrace the world that he is supposedly trying to destroy.
The problem with the film, is that takes too long to get to its point. The pacing can be frustratingly slow to some people, to the point that they might not want to even stick around to see the ending of the film, or even worse, that if they see it, will not even try to reflect on its message, which would be a shame, because I truly believe that the third act gives a very good closure to the story, besides exploring the similarities between Joseph’s life itself with his only success as a filmaker.
The acting is very good, in both the cases of Joseph Cross as the main character, and of Alexia Rasmussne as his wife, there is very good chemistry between them and we can understand them and care for them very easily, up to the point when we see that Joseph is loosing the ground, after buying into his own Visionary Social Martyr speech.
“Tilt” was directed by Kasra Farahani and co-written with Jason O’Leary, the cast includes the performances of Joseph Cross, Alexia Rasmussen, Jessy Hodges, Billy Khoury and a brief cameo from C.S. Lee (of “Dexter” fame).
Fantasia Film Festival is on its 21th edition, and has always been know for showing some of the best films in the Fantasy, Horror and Sci-Fi genres, currently running thru August 3rd. You can visit their official website to see more of the great material they are showing this year, and follow them in social media.