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SXSW 2014: ‘Fort Tilden’ and its derivative attempt at exploring the Millennial zeitgeist

Fort Tilden
Written by Sarah-Violet Bliss, Charles Rogers
Directed by Sarah-Violet Bliss and Charles Rogers

Zeitgeist may be a bit ambitious for Fort Tilden, which is more content with bludgeoning viewers with an onslaught of oversimplification and contrived contemptibility . Whether one agrees or not with the popular views of Millennials, SXSW’s Grand Jury Award Winner for Narrative Feature picks a side and then proceeds to overgeneralize and simplify.

Harper (Bridey Elliott) is a vain and talentless artist who subsides from her rich father; Allie (Clare McNulty) is a pouty, codependent Peace Corp applicant. Together, the two live their mid-twenties in New York being completely unlikeable. After meeting to guys at a party, they decide to shirk any and all responsibilities in favor of trekking to the eponymous beach. Along the way, their ignorance, indecisiveness, and self-entitlement result in setback after setback.

Bliss and Rogers get kudos for confidently presenting two incredibly contemptuous characters. Lack of likability is not a flaw in a film. However, endlessly taking shots at the popular perception of Millennials hinders can wear audiences out and lose any attempt at thoughtful analysis. Fort Tilden fails by concentrating too much on broad generalizations and stereotypes that result in trivial musings. The film ends with one of the few moments that approaches the cusp of insight before it is too late. The film is sure to start conversations but not anything worth true discussion in regards to people, relationships, or generations.

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