An unemployed documentary filmmaker (Joseph Cross)'s behavior becomes increasingly erratic in the months after his wife becomes pregnant.
This film is something like the next generation answer to "Falling Down". A man is stressed out by his life, and it manifests itself in ways that are not really helpful to society. However, whereas Michael Douglas simply became increasing violent, our protagonist here also seems to be heading in a direction of mental derangement, and the viewer may not always be able to predict what will happen next. This subtle difference is what would make "Tilt" a so-called "genre" film, but "Falling Down" not so much.
What also makes the protagonist interesting to watch (and really, this is essentially a character study) is his own inflated sense of self. He goes through the struggle and stress of compromise with his wife, and this is really laid bare when he confronts another man and asks that man about his single status. We are then informed that a dichotomy exists: marriage or freedom. Our protagonist chose marriage, and therefore (under these limited guidelines) sees that he has forfeited his freedom.
And his ambition may be ill-placed. While he is certainly knowledgeable and passionate about his film deconstructing the fallacy of the "American Golden Age", he also seems to have delusions of being the next Noam Chomsky or Howard Zinn. He is ironically convinced that there is great commercial value in anti-capitalist material. And while that may be true, the ideas of America's "war profiteering" or "evolved propaganda" are already out there. He would be adding a whisper to a scream. (Does the viewer recall Michael Moore's "Capitalism: A Love Story"? Even with Moore's sizable influence, it had little impact.)
Then there is the Trump connection. While this inclusion of the 2016 election cycle makes for a perfect counter-balance to the anti-establishment views of our subject, it has the unfortunate side effect of making the movie sort of dated. Will it have the same impact five years from now? Though it brilliantly have me wondering if it was filmed in "real time" or after the fact, given its early 2017 release. When our subject says "the day of the blustering angry white man is over", was this scripted with the knowledge in mind that Trump had won, or still at a time when that decision was unexpected?
"Tilt" was screened at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival. Though it may not have been the best of the "midnight" offerings, it is still an excellent film. Anyone drawn to character studies or overtly psychological movies is encouraged to seek it out. Most likely, it will have either a wider release or appear on demand by the third quarter of the year.
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