Follow TV Tropes


Film / TILT

Go To
"That's TILT. Game over."

TILT is a 2011 Bulgarian drama about rebellious teenager who is chasing his dream and love after the fall of the communist regime.

In 1989, mere days before Bulgaria's communist dictatorship falls, Alexander ("Stash") is enjoying his life as a skater with his friends Angel, Georgi ("Gogo") and "Bubblegum". The four dream of opening up their own arcade with pinball machines when they finish school, and to gather money, they sell porn videotapes on the black market for "Snake", a scoundrel. Stash meets a girl who introduces herself as "Becky" (really Evgenia) and they fall for each other, but Becky's father, Col. Katev, serves in the regime's secret police and has none of it, especially when he catches Stash and his friends selling porn. Stash, his friends and Becky try to flee to East Germany after the wall falls, but Bubblegum betrays them. Stash has to fight to keep everything as Becky, his friends and his dream are being taken away by the colonel and Bubblegum.



  • Abhorrent Admirer: Bubblegum has been hitting on Becky for a month and trying to wear her down before Stash goes to talk to her and has an instant spark. Later he tries aain when he goes to prom with her (while Stash and co. have fled abroad) but she has none of it.
  • Arc Words: Tilt, the countermeasures built into a pinball machine when a player tries to cheat the system whereas the ball disappears of the player tries to tilt the machine to get it unstuck. In the end, Stash fails to cheat the system and run away with Becky, echoing back to when he explained to her about how the system doesn't allow you to cheat. The boys also want to name their future bar TILT. Bubblegum does so.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Colonel has Bubblegum take over the TILT bar, then lures Stash into killing Bubblegum so he could be at the Colonel's mercy. Stash gets imprisoned, but can still see Becky when she visits him.
  • Advertisement:
  • Boy Meets Girl: The story kicks off with Stash impressing Becky by chasing the bus she's on on a skateboard.
  • Brick Joke: While the boys are detained, the communist party coup takes place and a cop has the portrait of the usurped Todor Zhivkov in the room changed (while his aide wonders it it's safe). Then col. Katev arrives and orders that the portrait be changed to some revolutionary from the not so recent and therefore undisputed history. some time later, the employee, to the colonel's amusement, randomly brings a portrait of Panayot Hitov.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Col. Katev can't kill Stash or throw him in jail, despite having promised and being fully able to do so, because he "doesn't need another martyr at home". Even at the end, when Stash shoots Bubblegum, Katev offers him a ticket for abroad, but Stash passes this up for 10 years in prison so he can see Becky.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: When daddy is a State Sec officer and your boyfriend is a rebellious skater boy whose friends sell bootleg porn, daddy really doesn't like it.
  • Falling-in-Love Montage: Stash and Becky have one when having fun as she drives him around Sofia's parks in his wheelchair.
  • Fan Disservice: Gogo is seen watching bootleg porn before selling it. Any effect is ruined by the monotonous male dub.
  • The Friends Who Never Hang: Angel and Bubblegum, who dislike each other.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Bubblegum has been trying to hit on Becky for a month when Stash goes to talk to her and they instantly hit it off. This is what causes him to betray them to the colonel.
    Bubblegum: (looking at Stash and Becky) What's he doing there? Hitting on her?
    Angel: Yeah, he's hitting on her alright.
  • Hope Springs Eternal: Stash narrates to Becky that he realised getting thrown in jail wasn't the end.
    'Stash: I remember you asked me once what TILT meant. When you push the flipper, you lose the ball it's game over. So I used to think. The game only ends when you give up.
  • Literal-Minded: Gogo doesn't get some more thuggish mannerisms of Snake's. When Snake says he hasn't seen Bubblegum around, Gogo tries to cover for him, unaware that Snake knows. Later he asks Snake twice how he got no jail time, oblivious to Snake's silence.
  • Mafia Princess: Becky.
  • The Mafiya: The colonel becomes a crime lord after the fall of the regime. Snake is loosely associated with him and is shown cutting an ear of a debtor he racketeered as well as selling him information for 10,000 dollars, and getting Stash a gun. Bubblegum works for the colonel, laundering money through the bar he establishes and which (minus the money laundering) was the boys' dream.
  • Missing Mom: Becky's mother who's revealed to have been Driven to Suicide by pill. She's the reason The Colonel gives in to any demands of Becky's since he "doesn't need another martyr at home". Becky tells him she won't follow her mother's example and will live just to watch him die.
  • Oral Fixation: Where Bubblegum gets his name.
  • Spoiled Brat: The "swan-boys", children of the communist party elite, who can get for free anything Stash and co. dream about, and gloat at their faces.
  • Tactful Translation: Inverted when the boys flee to West Germany and an inspector threatens them and their flatmates with eviction for not keeping the place clean:
    Inspector: (in German) Well, there are two possibilities. Eitheryou organize between yourselves, or we pick two people to take care of cleaning and receive 300 DM per month in total from us. That's 150 per person. One last tip: if I ever find the apartment in such a terrible condition, you're all out. I have nothing more to say.
    Man: (translates to Bulgarian) Frau Schubert says that thing with the trash is fucked and we have two options: either we clean up after ourselves, or two of us do it for all and get 150 DM each. We must pick one or we're fucked.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Bubblegum starts out this way, if his secret deals with Snake are any indication. He goes on to betray the group and side with the colonel as part of The Mafiya.
  • Weak-Willed: Gogo is the one who is the most easily intimidated and who gives the group away to Bubblegum and the colonel. He goes to work for Bubblegum at the end.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Katev sends away Bubblegum's bodyguard so that Stash can kill him. It's all a calculated move, since he gets rid of a traitorous Smug Snake and has the perfect way to keep Stash away from Becky by having him locked up.