Review for ‘Tilt’ (2017), Screening at Fantasia International Film Festival

Impending fatherhood can be a stressful time for a guy. He needs to figure out where his priorities lie, and what he needs to give up in order to successfully support the new human being that’s about to be a part of his life. But what about all of the time and effort put into the things that came before the baby? In Kasra Farahani’s 2017 film Tilt, which was brought to us by Good Guy Bad Guy, Ball & Chain Productions, and Rekon Productions, we get a glimpse of the struggle that one man faces once his wife becomes pregnant and how he lets his fear and frustration at his situation tear him apart.

The official synopsis for Tilt:

All seems normal with Joseph and Joanne.  Joanne is pregnant with their first child.  Life in their little
urban house is cozy and familiar. But something is off about Joseph.  He doesn’t seem excited about the
baby.  Work on his documentary is becoming increasingly untethered.  As Joseph struggles to maintain
the routines of his domestic life, his mask begins to slip.  Late at night, while Joanne thinks he is working, Joseph prowls the streets of Los Angeles, deliberately courting danger.  Joanne is growing worried about Joseph’s odd behavior.  But not as worried as she should be.
A selection at the 2017 Fantasia International Film Festival, Tilt was directed by Kasra Farahani (The Good Neighbor 2016) and co-written by Farahani and newcomer Jason O’Leary. Farahani, Kristina Kondrath (Play Date 2015) and Giri Tharan (The Good Neighbor 2016) produced. The film stars Joseph Cross (Lincoln 2012), Alexia Rasmussen (Listen to Your Heart 2010), C.S. Lee (Dexter TV series) and Jessy Hodges (How to Lose Weight in 6 Easy Steps 2016). The score for Tilt was composed by Lucas Putnam (An Entanglement 2016).

What Works

The acting in Tilt is fantastic. Both Joseph Cross as Joseph Burns and Alexia Rasmussen as Joanne Burns – collectively known as Jo-Jo – give outstanding performances. Cross, who looks so much like Dominic Monaghan, it’s scary, depicts a man on the verge of giving up his passions in order to prepare for his upcoming baby with an almost delicate insanity… at least at first. He’s a man who must decide what is most important to him – his upcoming role as a father and provider or his desire to be a documentary filmmaker. In his world, he cannot be both of these things at the same time. Does he give in to the guilt and responsibility his head is telling him to do or go with the hunger and longing to finish his movie that his heart craves? As the caring wife and upcoming mother, Rasmussen was honest, believable and a bit naive, which made her the most sympathetic and relatable character in the film. I felt really bad for her, which goes to show how great of an actress she really is.
There are also some fantastic shots in this film. The one that stands out to me the most is the scene where Joe is trashing his vacuum cleaner, beating it with the busted hose while standing next to his unborn baby’s crib, the shot framed to look as if he’s beating his sleeping infant. There was also a long, white, graffiti-covered wall that Joe passed by several times during his nightly walks that said something different every time he went by. The title of Joe’s first documentary, Tilt, is a nice double entendre for his pinball obsession as well as the state of his own mental instability.

What Doesn’t Work

This is a completely personal gripe, but I don’t like to mix politics with my entertainment. To a person with strong political beliefs, especially those opposed to Donald Trump and the Republican Party, the idea that this man could be our president (Tilt was filmed in 2015, before the actual election) along with the crisis in the Middle East are horrible, mind-blowing things, I watch films to get away from that for a bit. Call it escapism, call it avoidance, call it whatever you want. But my mind needs a break from that influx of information every once in awhile. So for me, this was a huge drawback. I almost didn’t even finish the film because of it.

Final Thoughts

Tilt is a horror movie for millennials. The idea that no one will listen to me, no one is patting me on the back for all of my hard work, I want to do what I want and not what I need to do, I can’t be bothered being happy for anyone else because I’m too busy feeling bad about the stuff happening to me… these are all of the things that drive Joe insane. For myself, a woman old enough to have three teenagers, this stuff seems bad but not bad enough to drive someone crazy. I had a hard time relating to Joe, and I spent a lot of the film hoping he would just man up. For some, Tilt may be the utmost horror, but for me, I couldn’t relate at all. Ugh.

About Tracy Allen

As the co-owner and Editor-in-Chief of PopHorror.com, Tracy has learned a lot about independent horror films and the people who love them. Now an approved critic for Rotten Tomatoes, she hopes the masses will follow her reviews back to PopHorror and learn more about the creativity and uniqueness of indie horror movies.

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