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article imageReview: ‘Fort Tilden’ is shameless in its humorous portrayal of ignorance Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Aug 21, 2015 in Entertainment
‘Fort Tilden’s unsympathetic portrayal of its protagonists produces an unfiltered and entertaining film about being directionless in New York.
Living in New York and doing nothing or close to it seems to be a rite of passage for some twenty-somethings. They use their copious amounts of free time to form worldly philosophies from the rooftops and patios of cheap cafés; make impractical plans for inconceivable affairs that they forget moments later; and cling to dream jobs that will eventually land on their doorsteps while they mock any opportunity that doesn’t fit the mold. Frivolity as a life choice is as unproductive as it is entertaining to observe. Case in point: Fort Tilden.
Best friends Harper (Bridey Elliott) and Allie (Clare McNulty) live together in a trendy apartment with separate stairwells that lead to their second-level bedrooms. Harper is an artist, which is a fancy way of saying she’s unemployed and living off of daddy’s money. Believing she’s found her calling, Allie is getting ready to leave New York to join the Peace Corp. However as a last hurrah, they make plans with a couple of guys they meet at a party to spend the following day at the beach. But between Allie’s supervisor demanding they finish her application and Harper’s incredibly short attention span, it appears they’ll never get there.
Choosing what to do with one’s life can be a difficult decision, but eventually it has to be made. Otherwise you end up wandering aimlessly around the city, spending money you don’t actually have and committing to projects you lack the follow-through to complete… like Harper and Allie. While Allie focuses on her latest venture, it becomes apparent this isn’t the first time she’s thought she found her calling. Her friends have little faith she’ll actually get on a plane to Liberia, outright telling her to abandon the mission completely or suggesting alternate locations that would be less demanding. On the other hand, almost everything out of Harper’s mouth is taken with a grain of salt — by everyone. Comments about her busy schedule are sarcastic and many are unaccepting of her aimlessness.
The women are inseparable and complement each other, but they have significantly different personalities. Even though Allie is not a finisher, she is a planner so she tries to keep them on a schedule. Conversely Harper is easily distracted, which repeatedly delays their trip as she stops to admire art, clothes and men. However the biggest problem they must contend with is their own naiveté and ignorance of the world outside themselves. These moments are some of the film’s most exasperating, but also the most entertaining. Watching them negotiate the price of trash, ask for upscale coffee in a convenience store and stand idly by as a crime is committed are just some of the movie’s highlights combined with their artificially intelligent banter.
There are relatively fresh faces behind and in front of the camera, but that gives it an attractive energy as they appear willing to take risks and be unabashedly confident. The fact that little changes at the end of the narrative is a decision that’s faithful to the characters and part of the film’s charm.
Directors: Sarah-Violet Bliss and Charles Rogers
Starring: Bridey Elliott, Clare McNulty and Neil Casey
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