April 11, 2021

Film review : Fort Tilden – is watching the uber-selfish worth 97 minutes of your time?

We can all have vacuous and selfish moments but some people take it to new levels. In Fort Tilden Harper and Allie, played by Bridey Elliot and Clare McNulty have made it their life’s work to care about no one but themselves. They are twenty-somethings so there is plenty of time for their characters to change, but is watching a day in the lives of the uber-selfish worth 97 minutes of your time?

Written and directed by Sarah Violet Bliss and Charles Rogers, Fort Tilden won the Grand Jury award at SXSW 2014. It has a simple premise with potential, being a road trip of the journey that two trustafarian friends take to the beach one summer day. Elliot and McNulty launch themselves into the characters, Elliot becoming an expert in self-centredness, McNulty giving Allie very slightly more self-awareness.

The script revels in the dopey characters’ extreme selfishness. Its very simple premise doesn’t hang together. At the start the two girls are sharing a flat in Brooklyn. They decide to travel by bike to the beach. By the time they reach the destination they have travelled so far that it is clear that bikes were never going to get them there. Most of their adventures are tiresome. Later plot developments involving a cab driver are highly unlikely.

Fort Tilden aims for comedy. We’re supposed to see the idiocy of the too-cool-to-care behaviour, criticise the contempt. But there is nothing in the two girls’ inane lives that makes an hour and a half in their company a positive experience. Rather than satire the film appears to indulge their life views.

The hand-held, bright-skied images are attractive and with slightly different emphasis the constantly hampered journey and the obnoxious behaviour could have been amusing. Unfortunately the movie actually plays as a long, obnoxious whine.

Verdict: The aim may have been to satirise but Fort Tilden becomes tedious

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