“Fort Tilden” (2014)
When we first meet Allie (Clare McNulty) and Harper (Bridey Elliott), two friends and roommates, they are at a rooftop concert featuring two performers they call “the twins.” It’s one of those self-indulgent performances where the participants think more of their talent than the audience. It’s obvious from their constant texting during the concert that Allie and Harper are only there to make an appearance. Near the end of the evening, they meet two men who talk them into joining them the next day for a beach outing at Fort Tilden.
Harper has decided that Allie needs a day off and refuses to let her go to an appointment with her adviser for her upcoming Peace Corps commitment. It’s a day that promises a little adventure and probably a little sex, as Harper has already planned to set her sights on the cuter of the two boys. The girls decide that instead of spending money on a cab, they will ride bikes to the beach instead. They barely get out of their neighborhood when barrel they think is a perfect addition to their apartment distracts them – an all too common occurrence. By the time that they finally leave for the beach, it’s almost 2 pm. It’s questionable that the girls will ever reach their beach, and it’s possible that their friendship may not survive the day.
Sarah-Violet Bliss and Charles Rogers, who co-directed and wrote the film, have created two lead characters that you would hate to be seated next to at Starbucks. Allie and Harper are two young women who are spoiled, egotistical and clueless about how the world works. Harper is a mixed-media artist who spends most of her days coming up with ideas that will never be realized. She is supported by her rich father, who indulges his daughter even though she thinks nothing less of calling him halfway around the world because she can’t get a cab. Allie, who sometimes is the more level-headed of the two, is solely consumed with her upcoming Peace Corps trip. Harper is convinced that, like many other endeavors that Allie has taken up, that Allie will not go. Neither woman has faith in each other; it’s as they are in an endless cycle of letting each other down, only to forget about the transgression in a short amount of time.
This is one of those films that some critics will find endearing and even possibly enchanting. I found the film a little tedious, rarely funny and I was very often frustrated with the characters and their cluelessness. While I did not like either character, I did like the two principle actors. Clare McNulty, playing Allie, has a likable quality to her. McNulty plays well off of Elliott, making their banter back and forth seem quite natural. Bridey Elliott reminded me of a very young Kristen Ritter though I would have liked a bit more of brashness and confidence to shine through in her portrayal of Harper.
I liked the camera movement and placement, as directors Bliss, Rogers, along with cinematographer Brian Lannin made New York City characters in the film. The numerous scenes on the streets kept the film moving and never stagy or static, something that cannot be said for the two main characters.
“Fort Tilden” could have been a fun film about the adventures of two young women who are living the life in the big city. It’s a movie that desperately needed funnier moments (there are a few, but they are few and far between, and rarely last for any length of time). Instead, we get a film about two characters that are not likable. Characters that are so obnoxious and self-absorbed that they think its acceptable to abandon three kittens in a garbage can because they are tired carrying them. The film wants to be charming and amusing. Unfortunately, the film is like its two main characters; it’s unpleasant and shallow. You should want to hang out with two young women in NYC for an hour and a half, but with these two? Not so much. My Rating: Cable
My movie rating system from Best to Worst: 1). I Would Pay to See it Again 2). Full Price 3). Bargain Matinee 4). Cable 5). You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again
“Fort Tilden” is playing exclusively in Atlanta at the Plaza Theatre
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