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Directed by Tony Montana and Mark Brian Smith
Studio: THINKfilm
DVD reviewed by Ian Dawe

August 18, 2005 | Roger Waters once sang, "Give any one species too much rope and they'll fuck it up." Although more succinct and less poetic than the Albert Goldman quote that ends this fascinating documentary, it is an adequate way to describe the story it tells. Troy Duffy, the star and subject of this film, went from a struggling bartender from Boston to a film mogul in little over six months. He took slightly longer to lose everything and alienate everyone, but the seeds of his demise were present early, if this film is to be believed, and the story proceeds with tragedy of almost Greek proportions.

Duffy was offered $250 000 by Harvey Weinstein, Chairman of Miramax Films, and possibly the most powerful man in Hollywood, for his edgy script titled The Boondock Saints. He and his rock band get the opportunity to write and perform the soundtrack for the movie, a feat (to hear Duffy tell it) unprecedented in Hollywood and sure to lead them to fame and fortune. For Duffy and those around him, including his band, this opportunity is quite probably more than they can handle.

Duffy is clearly possessed of an ego of Herculean proportions, but is this unprecedented in Hollywood? In business? In music? In politics? Orson Welles (of whom I was reminded repeatedly through this film) alienated and irritated as many people in his younger years as he drew to his talent and artistic energy. The difference between Welles and Duffy is one of talent only, not of bravura or ambition.

The documentary clearly tracks the rise of Duffy, his celebrations, and his quick fall, the key to which seems to be driving away his most important ally, Miramax. Duffy initially blames a middle manager at the company for the disintegration of his dream deal, but he clearly makes the situation worse by publicly and repeatedly taking the name of Weinstein in vain - an unforgivable sin in Hollywood circles. At one point, a distributor is asked how much of a voice Harvey Weinstein has in the entertainment industry. She replies simply, "He is the voice."

After a few months, the band has broken up, Duffy has spent all the money he received on his two film deals (after Miramax passed, the film was picked up and produced by a smaller company) and the film is a complete flop. Along the way, he has alienated his family, his friends and his business partners. The film is a fascinating study in self-destruction, but as the final Goldman quote suggests, it wasn't fame that changed the bartender into a self-absorbed egomaniac. Those impulses seem fully in place from the very beginning. Fame only let them out, like, in Goldman's words, "a kind of truth drug".

As a DVD, Overnight is a fairly routine affair, with a couple of minor deleted scenes proving the major extra feature. A two-for package with The Boondock Saints is a doubtful proposition (although it would make an interesting double feature), but it would be the most logical way to market these two films - twins separated at birth.

A freelance writer and longtime film enthusiast, Ian Dawe is now completing a Master's Degree in Film History. He currently teaches at Selkirk College in Castlegar, British Columbia.

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