One of the films getting a buzz at this week’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City is the psychological horror thriller Tilt, about an obsessed documentary filmmaker whose rants against Donald Trump lead him to go on a murderous rampage.
The lead character in the fictional story is Joseph Burns (played by Joseph Cross), who is filling his days working on a documentary about the American “golden age,” that he sees taking place in this century.
“Playing like a chorus throughout the film is cable news coverage of Trump’s campaign speeches,” reports The Daily Beast, “inspiring a series of agitated anti-Trump rants that conspire with his research into the Golden Age to foster a sort of existential paranoia.”
As he becomes more obsessed with the voice of Trump in his head the unemployed filmmaker leaves his pregnant wife behind to prowl the streets of Los Angeles at night where he ultimately goes into a homicidal rage.
“He becomes filled with ideas of grandeur,” says a review by The Film Stage. “He sees himself as a messiah in a world falling apart, someone brimming with a destructive energy devoid of an outlet. Joe ultimately embraces Trump’s mold of entitled narcissist who doesn’t have time to appreciate others’ success because they miscomprehend his.”
At Tribeca, it’s being called the movie about a “guy who goes insane because of Donald Trump,” says the Daily Beast.
Shown at Midnight, the movie is co-written and directed by Iranian-Amerian filmmaker Kasra Farahani. The Daily Beast reports it is “the Trump’s America horror feature that cinephiles assume was inevitable – even if its filmmakers never expected it to be.”
Farahani moved to Los Angeles when he was a year old from Iran after the 1979 Islamic revolution. He says the Trump travel ban against Iran and other Islamic countries struck him as “terrible and humiliating and awful in so many ways,” he told The Daily Beast.
“But more so, very honestly, the phrase Make America Great Again – just that, to me, as somebody who is foreign-born from a Muslim country, it feels exclusionary. It feels like Make America White Again. Make America Christian again. It feels like a not-so-coded message to get out of here: ‘You’re not like us.'”
Farahani worked in the art departments of various movies for filmmakers including J.J. Abrams, Tim Burton, James Cameron and Steven Spielberg. He was Art Director on Star Trek Into Darkness, Men In Black 3 and Production Designer on Earth To Echo. He made his debut as a director in 2013 with the short film “Noon.”
The movie went into production while Trump was one of more than a dozen Republicans running for President. “Then we’re editing it and he becomes the nominee and the movie becomes something else,” the filmmaker told The Daily Beast. “Later, when we’re nearly done, he’s president, and the movie has another fundamentally different meaning. And how could it not?”
“There’s a lot of anger that you see in Joe Burns,” adds Farahani, “that is out in the world right now.”
Trump has engendered a lot of strong reactions since he entered politics and became President. Most of that has been expressed in late night comedy and on news channel reports. This is the first movie that captures the inner horror he is making many people experience but it is not likely to be the last.