Tilt review: Kasra Farahani directs this terrifically tense and unsettling tale of one man’s spiral out of control.

Tilt review, Kat Hughes.

Tilt review
Tilt review

Joseph (Joseph Cross) is a mild-mannered documentary filmmaker. He spends his days working on his latest film and doting on his pregnant wife Kendra. However, as the due date approaches, Joseph finds himself under incredible pressure to finish his project, whilst at the same time dealing with impending fatherhood. As the stress mounts, Joseph begins to unravel as his behaviour becomes increasingly erratic and dangerous.

Tilt is a tight and tense drama / thriller that plays itself firmly in the real world. Set in the run-up to the US election, there’s an odd normalcy to proceedings. This makes the uncoiling of Joe’s psyche all the more powerful and unsettling. Joe could be any number of people that you interact with, and proves that you can never really know anyone. The development of the couple and their dynamic is completely on point, you fully believe that these two people are real. The conversations, arguments and interactions all feel genuine, for portions of the film the audience is made to feel like a voyeur, we’re watching some close friends and they don’t know it. The easy chemistry between the two leads would have you believing that they are an actual couple, and as much as Joe is a documentary filmmaker, the film feels almost like it is one too.

Tilt review
Tilt review

The camerawork too reflects this documentary vibe, a lot of shots are removed, and are at a distance to our couple, reinforcing that voyeurism. Though at a distance, much of the camerawork is shot quite tight in, highlighting the sense of claustrophobia that Joseph feels as the walls close in.

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This is film about growing up and accepting adult responsibilities. The whole story focuses on Joseph’s struggle to accept that fatherhood may require him to put his dreams to one side. Pregnant spouses everywhere may find this uncomfortable, watching as Tilt highlights some very real issues that affect many relationships. Thankfully though, not everyone unravels like Joseph.

Tilt review
Tilt review

Cross gives a fantastic performance in the lead, switching between Jekyll and Hyde effortlessly. He embodies a Patrick Bateman detached personality perfectly and elicits a sense of dread whenever he starts to spiral. Tilt could have easily gone down the generic horror route given that some of the events that unfold, however Tilt is more intelligent and subtle. Instead Tilt falls somewhere between American Psycho and The Shining, it’s a slow-burning, tension-soaked, psychological drama that draws you in. That’s not to say it doesn’t have its horrific moments. Towards the opening third Joe has an unnerving dream involving a young infant, one that is pretty tough viewing and there are many other moments akin to this peppered throughout. Just enough to keep things lively, but never enough to go too extreme.

An engaging and intense psychological drama that hooks you from the start, Tilt will unnerve you with just how true to life it could well be.

Tilt review by Kat Hughes, July 2017

Tilt is currently playing at the Fantasia International Film Festival.

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