Saturday, November 7, 2015
FORT TILDEN (2015)
Written, Directed and Story By: Charles Rogers & Sarah-Violet Bliss
Cinematography By: Brian Lannin
Editor: Sarah-Violet Bliss
Cast: Bridey Elliot, Clare McNutly, Alysia Reiner, Neil Casey, Max Jenkins
Fort Tilden: New York City's secluded seaside nirvana where, like flies to honey, Brooklyn's hip millennial set flocks on sweltering weekend afternoons for unbridled summertime indulgence. Amidst the vexing stagnation of quarter-life crises, Allie struggles to prepare for the Peace Corps, while Harper awaits checks from her father to fund her artistic dreams. But the two friends quickly shun responsibilities for the day when a pair of good-looking guys invites them along for a carefree Fort Tilden afternoon. As the two young women board their fixed-gear bicycles and embark on a lengthy journey to the beach, they quickly realize that, akin to their confusing, transitioning lives, they neither know where they're going nor how they plan to get there. FORT TILDEN is a hilariously insightful and recognizable look at the consequences of extended adolescence.
This seems to be both a generational comedy and a gentrification comedy of white privilege painted with broad strokes at times. That soon has a focus more on two characters and the prism that is their lives. Resulting in a comedy of our contemporary times.
We have two unlikeable leads who are hard to feel and sympathy for and as the hardships mount you want to either feel sorry or some joy as they keep suffering punishment after punishment. Though at times you can't help but feel they deserve what they get. Which usually are a result of mean spirited hijinks. Basically they are trust fund brats.
Bridey Elliot as Harper is more the alpha with Clare McNutly as Allie seems to do all the work. And takes all the blame and abuse as the other seems to complain, insult and bark orders. Though Allie is also the closest one to being level headed. Who might actually be a decent person if not under the influence of Harper though eventually it comes across that maybe she isn't as co dependent as she seems.
The film feels almost as if two of the MEAN GIRLS from that movie grew up, moved to New York and became roommates.
It soon finds itself as a dark comedy of sorts and manners. That holds an extreme hilarious mirror up to hipster particularly Williamsburg Brooklyn culture.
The film reminds one of the narcissistic recent modern films. Like SUMMER OF BLOOD and the more artistically inclined WHILE WE'RE YOUNG.
Where we have seemingly normal yet disturbingly self centered characters who eventually become something scary as we can relate to them. Though they seem like more extreme versions of comedic creation.
This is another New York tale set in Brooklyn that is absent of minorities more in major roles though plenty of them in the background as they travel around New York. Sprinkled throughout. At least in this film they are acknowledged. As no one is likeable, genuine or seem to care about anyone else but themselves. Maybe that is a good thing. As we are stuck with two characters throughout who are a little slower and maybe more honest in their vapidity.
The film is at it's best when it shows the cultural divide and miscommunication and kind of sex crazed female characters. As they talk graphically about sex from a female point of view. Especially as we see two women thinking they need drugs to seduce guys to have sex with them and not just their remained wilds and looks.
Their adventures on the journey to their destination of the title. As they get easily distracted in general. What is scary is to think that this is a normal day for them. What must an important or eventful one is like for them.
The film seems shot on the fly obviously and actually filmed partially in my neighborhood. So it is amusing seeing locations that I actually recognize and frequent. So seeing the film shot guerrilla style and seeming to have a grittiness is promising as it still looks polished.
What it is obviously about is white privilege. At least it knows how ridiculous it is. Which is why I believe most of the characters seem so pretentious, silly and stupid. As they have no real problems except for the ones they make for themselves. They are so shallow yet try to act honorable and ideally, but slowly reveal their true heart of themselves are exposed and usually rotten. It celebrates them while also satirizing them. Yet at least doesn't talk down to anyone it any cultures. If anything it is revealing.
Luckily the film keeps none of the character, story or generation as precious. The films hipsters deserve taking down. Showing a sense of humor about themselves. As well as making a defining film that takes a pretty good look at this generation that is so distracted taking pictures and filming themselves. Afraid they will be overlooked or forgotten. Obsessed with being remembers and acknowledged. So they aren't some lost artifact.
I like to think of this film as a less likeable version of the television BROAD CITY or GIRLS, except i am not a huge fan of the later. Though this film is almost as if you mixed the two and thrown in some originality for this film to have it's own personality. Though as funny as them. As we get broad comedic scenes as well as a few poignant character defining ones.
Due to the time we spend with the characters. We sometimes sympathize with them. Even if not liking them completely. This film could almost take place anywhere, yet feels definitely New York. Which helps give the film it's definition and beauty as we see not he familiar landmarks, but more where the normal citizens live and the way of life. As the New York most come for or have heard about it losing itself and it's character. Only to look like a spruced up version of a mall or shopping center, but still has it's Peculiarities.
I can see why audiences might not like the film, Though strange to me that they like more mainstream examples of the same type of behavior. Only here it is well rounded and in your face.
The film does seem like an endurance test at times. As it tests how long you can stand being with them. Though it is worth it by the end
Even though the characters are despicable at least they are more sympathetic die to time spent with them where they weaken our defenses against them and realize that they are products of their environment and act this way because they are enabled and partially supported to do so. Why try of no matter how what you break even. Though they at least are transparent where as most of the character around them are so caught up in their own self righteousness that they don't realize how petty and deplorable they are themselves. Hiding behind a false decency only to shove their shallow achievements in others faces to feel better than the others.