By all appearances, struggling filmmaker Joe (Joseph Cross) shouldn’t be so glum. His wife, Joanne (Alexia Rasmussen), is pregnant and fully supports her hubby’s lack of gainful employment and desire to work on a documentary about America’s “Golden Age.” Appearances can be deceiving, though. Amidst Joe’s agitated Trump-inspired political rants, the documentary’s production continues to devolve into paranoid me-against-the-world defiance; late at night, he marauds around the streets of Los Angeles looking for trouble; when at home, he grows increasingly obsessed with Googling a random person’s name. There’s clearly something brewing inside of Joe—something dangerous. As much a slow-burning character study as any existential horror film, director/co-writer Kasra Farahani’s Tilt uses the plainness of its unhinged protagonist’s seemingly mundane life and Joseph Cross’ deliberately somber performance to establish a mood soaked with powerful dread. The added component of social relevance, sprinkled throughout with subtle shots aimed towards the uncomfortable “new normal” of white male rage and entitlement, only makes Tilt all the more prescient and chilling.
Born in Iran and raised in Los Angeles, Kasra Farahani was trained as an industrial designer, but stumbled into film design. He has worked for years as a concept artist and art director on large studio productions. Farahani’s directing work skews more towards the character-driven and atmospheric.