Overnight is hands down the best documentary released last year, and clearly one of the best documentaries I have ever seen. The tale of Troy Duffy’s rise and fall seems to occur in about the first 10 minutes of the movie. And then, after that happens, things really go down hill. Having been in the screenwriting/low budget movie game since 1995, I know a little something about having success and then losing that success. How you handle that happening really says a lot about who you are. That is the lynchpin of this film because what happens to Mr. Duffy is downright scary. Granted, the deals and things he was involved in are on a very large scale, this film gets everything right in that it shows us what can happen when our dreams just seem to evaporate. Usually, if you are a very creative sort, once you get over your funk (and that can take a long time!), you pick up the pieces, recharge your batteries and get going on something else. Troy Duffy is doing this it seems because he got to make his movie and it looks like he is working on a sequel. Yet, what Overnight shows us is a raw, blistering look at someone coming undone to the point where it seems like they almost drive themselves crazy.
Deleted Scenes and Cast and Crew Bios
The deleted scenes consist of a small excerpt from a roundtable reading of The Boondock Saints as well as clip titled “Almost Famous” in which Taylor Duffy (Troy’s brother) seems to show a little bit of his siblings taste for success. While I am sure that there could have been a whole other DVD of deleted scenes, what they have here does a very good job in showing us a little bit more about what I think is an always interesting process; filmmaking. The Cast and Crew Bios are illuminating, and I am glad to have found out why the band that Troy and Taylor Duffy do went from being called The Brood to The Boondock Saints. It turns out there was a girl band with the same name. Ironic, isn’t it?
Directors Interview on “Backstage with Barry Nolan”
Finally, it seems we get to hear from Mark Brian Smith and Tony Montana. These men are true examples of “suffering for your art”. While I wish this piece would have been longer, it was a nice example of the flavor of Overnight, and I am glad to be able to put the faces with the film. What I find weird is how these guys were able to even release this movie, mainly because why would Troy Duffy allow such a negative picture of himself to be seen by the rest of the world? Maybe the filmmakers hope this may humble him or something, but if I were them I’d be scared for my life.
1.85:1 Letterbox. As this is a documentary the camera moves at it’s own pace, it never seems to linger anywhere for that long, yet somehow we as viewers are always able to orient themselves and stay with this story. Lets be honest, seeing a guy fall apart in front of our eyes is very easy to watch, and even if we can’t fill in all the gaps as to why this or that happened, I think all this does is just heighten our awareness and keep us watching. This film was obviously shot with a few different cameras, but it is very solidly edited, and seems to go out of it’s way to keep the viewer up to date on what is happening. In fact, it does this so well, that when the bad things befall Duffy it almost hurts because we actually have a greater understanding of all that he is losing.
English 2.0 Stereo. With all the various footage, tapes and information being thrown at us throughout this film, it is amazing that we are able to hear as much as we can hear. This thing was shot in so many different places, with the environments constantly changing that I am very impressed with the sound design for Overnight. Also, when you consider that in many of the scenes the people talking don’t have microphones on them, it becomes even more impressive that the sound is as crisp and audible as the makers of this DVD have gotten it. Sometimes they are shooting in quiet rooms, then they are shooting in bars, then they are shooting in meetings and we really get a sense of the chaos that is unfolding on film. This movie looks like something that anybody with a camcorder could have shot, but anybody that has made a documentary will surely tell you that it’s not that easy. The fact that Mark Brian Smith and Tony Montana have made it look that way only bolsters their achievement.
These guys seem to be asking Troy Duffy to kill them. The cover features a blue background, with a reddening image of Duffy holding a Bolex camera to his head and the tagline for the film is ”There’s more then one way to shoot yourself”. Also, the expression on Duffy’s face makes him look almost maniacal. The back cover features shots from the film laid out like a movie strip, some reviews, a description of Overnight, a special features listing, cast list and tech specs. The packaging on this perfectly sums up the movie. It is freewheeling and almost always seems like it’s about to explode. I cannot fathom how these filmmakers are not being sued over this, but I am sure that there is some fair use law or something that protects them. Wow.
Despite my praise of Overnight, I would very much like to hear from Mr. Duffy. I don’t know that he can explain himself, because quite simply, how do you explain behavior like that? I would just like to hear his opinion of the film and maybe have certain things illuminated from his point of view. Truthfully, no documentary can ever be 100 % accurate, because it has been edited. It has been woven together for dramatic effect. A narrative has been found even if it really isn’t the narrative of the piece. Still, I think that this movie is so well done, so real and honest that I would love to see a sequel of sorts where Troy Duffy gives his take on the events surrounding that time in his life.
Mark Brian Smith and Tony Montana have made an excellent film and I could not be happier to have it on DVD. In fact, I was on my way to buy it when Movieweb called and told me I would be reviewing it.
Overnight was released June 12, 2003.