Monday, April 24, 2017

Talking Tribeca: Tilt

I’ve had the pleasure of screening a number of selections from this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, which takes place April 19th-April 30th.

Directed by Kasra Farahani
Festival Screenings

Broadly speaking, there are two types of films that deal with pregnancies. One is a comedy, romantic or not, that finds the time leading up to a baby’s birth presenting a handful of complications. Suitors may emerge for an unmarried woman over the course of the film, and usually there’s a happy ending. The other is a far darker kind of movie, one that presents a more terrifying vision of what’s to come with parenthood, something that expectant parents should almost certainly avoid at all costs. “Tilt,” screening as a Midnight selection at Tribeca, falls decidedly into the latter category.

Joe (Joseph Cross) is not a particularly fulfilled person. The struggling filmmaker’s one claim to fame is a project that received minimal funding several years earlier, and he is hard at work not getting far on his newest project, which explores capitalism and consumerism in America’s Golden Age. His wife Joanne (Alexia Rasmussen) is pregnant and initially supportive of her husband’s exploits until it becomes clear that he is becoming completely wrapped up in the negativity that comes from his subject matter and almost completely detached from his role as husband and future father.

There is something decidedly unsettling about experiencing Joe’s descent into paranoia and madness with footage of Donald Trump’s campaign speeches on the television and an only mildly more optimistic presentation of the possibility of American excellence. The eerie normalcy of it all makes it seem that this kind of thing could happen to anyone, though of course it’s important to remember that this horror film, which this reviewer might not have elected to watch given its genre had he read the film’s summary, is purposely classified into this genre because it represents a certain type of storytelling designed to highlight the evils that lurk within and the temptations outside that bring them in.

Cross, who delivered a breakout performance a decade ago in the comedy “Running with Scissors,” hands in a creepy, extraordinarily focused turn as a man so swept up in wanting to be able to say something about society that even he doesn’t seem interested in it any longer when he speaks about it to those his wife makes him share a dinner table with on occasion. Rasmussen frames the dismay with which she watches his transformation in a real and relatable way, making this disturbing and off-putting experience, that some will surely enjoy, even more skin-crawling.


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