Review: FORT TILDEN

Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 8.22.53 AMfixbuttonGrowing old comes early for Harper and Allie in “Fort Tilden” a micro budgeted indie opening in Atlanta this weekend.

Old is relative and never more so than when you’re around those who truly exhibit youth distinct from your boring, aging, dare I say, decaying self. And it matters not what you look like on the outside.

That’s too harsh, but the short introspective banter between spoiled rich girl Harper (Bridey Elliott) and Peace Corps wannabe Allie (Clare McNulty) as they careen pointlessly toward a beach destination clearly demonstrates that their time as spontaneous party girls has come and went.

When the girls meet a couple of cute guys at a party, they agree to meet them the following day at a beach called Fort Tilden. The next morning the odyssey begins as they make the trek. And getting there proves almost too much to take.

Directed and co-written by Sarah-Violet Bliss and Charles Rogers, “Fort Tilden” is a well-made comedy that hits the mark more than it misses. The story unfolds as if it were almost in real time with the misadventures of Allie and Harper never getting too far out of control. This is in direct contrast to the modern trend that has events ever-escalating along with increasing crudeness, violence, and over-the-top moments. Unlike the much maligned “Vacation” remake presently in theaters, “Fort Tilden” grounds the events in a fairly realistic manner. And there are solid comedic sequences that build to resonating emotional ones.

Part of the appeal of the film clearly is the strength of the two leads. Bridey Elliott and Clare McNulty immediately bond on screen selling themselves credibly as best friends. Everything feels authentic in their relationship especially the way they talk with one another. Their amusing and telling banter contains a colorful shorthand that most anyone with a best friend will immediately pick up on. And the natural sounding dialogue feels as though it was made up as the film was shot, although the words were most-certainly part of the script.

“Fort Tilden” is a slight adventure that like “Swingers” introduces two talented actors with the gift for gab who should find plenty of work moving forward. And the organic structure and dialogue is disarmingly real.

Harper and Allie learn that all it takes is a trip to the beach to make one act one’s age.

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