The Boondock Saints was a thriller that didn't do well at the cinemas, but which found a cult following on home video. The ending of the movie leaves things open for a sequel, which to date has never been made, and this documentary, Overnight, indirectly examines the reasons why. Well, there's only one reason really, the behaviour of its writer and director Troy Duffy. He was a Boston bar bouncer who success suddenly found one day when the boss of Miramax, Harvey Weinstein, blessed him with attention which saw not only his film script being put into production, but his band making an album and the bar he worked at being bought and co-owned by Weinstein and Duffy.
And then it all went horribly wrong. We are able to see all this in the goriest of details because Duffy enlisted two of his friends, Tony Montana and Mark Brian Smith, to film his predicted rise to the top. Initially we are introduced to Duffy's family and friends - his brothers play in his band - and the effect that the deals have on them. Everyone is optimistic about their prospects, but we can sense there's something wrong; judging by the amount of drinking they all do it'll be a miracle if they get anything off the ground, and there's an abrasive quality to Duffy's personality that seems headed for clashes with those close to him, in business as well as socially.
Which is exactly what happens, of course. Duffy is of the opinion that the universe revolves around him, and doesn't treat anyone at all well, including the people who have the power over his work. The man who could have been "the next Quentin Tarantino" gradually ends up as yet another soul crushed by the business we call show. In fact, watching the obnoxious way he carries himself it's a miracle he even gets a film and an album made at all. At first, Duffy enjoys his new popularity and a plethora of famous faces show up to be seen with him - John Goodman, Patrick Swayze, Vincent D'Onofrio, Billy Zane - but their appearances are fleeting.
What really led to Duffy's downfall was when he fell out with Weinstein, courtesy of yet more scenes where he yells out a phone call. After that, nobody wanted to know him as Weinstein's ex-golden boy, almost no one, at least, as Duffy managed to secure funding for The Boondock Saints at half the budget Miramax had offered him. So the film is made and it looks like Duffy's lack of good manners might be overlooked as those involved with it cheerfully endorse his vision. And the band get their album produced, even if there are worries that Duffy may be concentrating more on the film than sticking by his friends and family.
Finally, The Boondock Saints heads for Cannes, where a grand total of no studios want to buy and release it. Still we see no panic in Duffy's eyes, his arrogant self belief knows no bounds, but it's caught up with him. From then on the documentary is a catalogue of failure, even though Duffy's film and album were released (you might have seen the film, but have you heard the album?). Yet there's little feeling of schadenfreude on the part of Montana and Smith, possibly because they saw their opportunities going downhill as well.
If you liked the macho shenanigans of The Boondock Saints then this view of its creator may well change your mind about it; even though Duffy has talent, seeing him replying to brother Taylor's heartfelt pleas to take care of the band and his relationships by dismissing him with pontifications about not trusting him don't exactly paint him in a good light. I'm sure plenty of people in the industry act like this, but the impression is that Duffy never really earned the right. As a lesson, Overnight is an old one: be careful how you treat those on the way up as you might meet them on the way down, and that applies to the heads of Hollywood studios as well as your family and friends. Especially if you asked two of those friends to film you for a self-serving documentary. Music by Jack Livesey and Peter Nashel.