2004 - R - 82 Mins.
|Director: Tony Montana and Mark Brian Smith
|Producer: Tony Montana and Mark Brian Smith
|Written By: Tony Montana and Mark Brian Smith
|Starring: Troy Duffy, Jim Crabbe, Chris Brinker, Tony Montana and Mark Brian Smith
|Review by: Bill King
'The Boondock Saints' has an attitude about it that suggests a volatile person at the helm, with the senseless killing of a cat being its most disconcerting scene. It's not a bad movie, but it experienced a rocky trip from the page to the screen, which suggested that Troy Duffy's script wasn't the masterpiece he thought it was. The documentary 'Overnight' covers Duffy's brief rise to fame and the dramatic fall from his flimsy pedestal.
Troy Duffy's family photo and mugshot
Duffy asked (ex-)friends Tony Montana and Mark Brian Smith to document his movie's progress, starting after Miramax's acceptance of the 'The Boondock Saints' script, as well as the production of the soundtrack, to be performed by Duffy's band The Brood. One day, Duffy was a bartender in Los Angeles, and the next day he suddenly found fame when Harvey Weinstein of Miramax signed the Boston native to a contract, which included final cut, a record deal for The Brood and ownership of Duffy's bar.
The documentary begins after these promises had been made. Within the first ten minutes or so, Duffy is on the phone trying to get the film going forward, and his abrasive attitude is immediately apparent. We don't get any clear facts on why Weinstein put the movie in turnaround, but Duffy's arrogance fills in the blanks for us. We see the hopeful director talking to agents, trying to get in touch with people like Kenneth Branagh, and proclaiming his own greatness by saying people are afraid of him. That sort of attitude from a guy who is basically a rookie is not appreciated from a producer with dozens of titles under his belt.
Every bit of Troy Duffy's rage is caught on film. There doesn't appear to be a sensitive side to him. He acts callously around his parents, using the kinds of words one normally wouldn't use around mother. Once Miramax dumps his movie, he has trouble finding another production company, which in turn fuels his temper even more. Finally, he gets the ball rolling, and only during the actual filming of 'The Boondock Saints' does he appear to be content. All seems to be going well for him, until his completed project screens at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival. He doesn't receive a single offer for distribution, and so he blames everyone else for not handling his film properly.
There's an ugly scene at around the halfway point. Like an intervention for an alcoholic, this confrontation features Duffy, his brother Tony, and documentarians Montana and Smith, along with people just standing by to watch the whole pathetic display. Montana and Smith ask about the money they should receive for managing The Brood, but Duffy is infuriated to the point that he claims "you do deserve it, but you're not gonna get it." However, just a few seconds later he says "you don't deserve that fucking money." This sequence, and many others, highlight Duffy's warped reasoning and corrosive personality.
One of my favorite scenes occurs during a Q&A session at Boston University in 2000. Duffy is sitting in front of a film theory class taught by the arrogant-in-his-own-way film historian Ray Carney. The students make some very insightful observations on Duffy's progress up to that point. They're not fooled by his smug outward appearance, and this realization shifts Duffy into defensive mode, once again trying to justify his actions with profanity-laced outbursts. Later, in the safety of a bar, Duffy berates film students as an ignorant bunch. On his website, Ray Carney admits that he didn't have advance knowledge of Duffy or his film and, in one of the few times I'll ever agree with the professor, called him an idiot.
'Overnight' presents the facts from a series of raw footage edited together to provide a fascinating journey of a man who couldn't work with the people in a position to bring him recognition. What makes this whole affair doubly interesting is the fact that Duffy knows the camera is present, yet he still acts like a fool. Montana and Smith could have abandoned this documentary immediately, but they stuck around, probably with the realization that there's an interesting story afoot. They endured the venom spewed in their direction. Though 'Overnight' is more of an exposé than a revenge piece, it still speaks volumes -- the film proclaims a loud "up yours!" right back at Duffy.