The age of ‘indie-cinema’ gets its own Sunset Boulevard with Overnight, a poignant journey through the (brief) rise of Troy Duffy to the Miramax-blessed echelons of indie nirvana and his quick, spectacular descent into alcoholic hell and celluloid oblivion. Admittedly, the film itself is not as good as it sounds but it should be seen by every aspiring filmmaker before they decide to go swimming with sharks.
Overnight is a film that took on a life of its own. Tony Montana and Mark Brian Smith had originally been assigned to follow Troy Duffy around after he managed to sell his script for a film called The Boondock Saints. Miramax’s Harvey Wienstein bought the script after it created a frenzy among Hollywood executives and even offered to buy Troy J. Sloan’s, the bar where he used to work, as part of the deal. Troy appeared on the covers of the USA Today and The Hollywood Reporter, hailed as the new Tarantino, the protagonist of a real-life rags-to-riches Hollywood Cinderella fairy tale. He also got a record contract for his band The Syndicate.
However, the story would take a tragic turn as Troy quickly turned into a megalomaniacal drunk monster, alienating everyone around him in the process. Overnight focuses on Troy’s downward spiral. But not too long into the film, when the point has been made (power corrupts, Hollywood sucks, etc), you feel like you’ve seen it all and that much of the footage is pleonastic. Stories of broken dreams in the entertainment business are already a staple genre, so from this point of view the film is not so much an indictment of the industry as one case study set within the ‘independent cinema’ milieu.
Still, a good editing job carries Overnight fluidly to the end as it creates an expectation of how things are going to turn out. It’s like watching a car speeding towards a precipice. You know what the crash will look like but you still want to see it. There are moments of comedy as well. The film did get shot, starring Bill Connolly in the unlikely role of a villain, alongside William Dafoe (the film has a cult following these days). It’s also hilarious to see footage of famous stars such as Mark Wahlberg and Patrick Swayze rubbing shoulders with Troy, listening to his manic spiel. Overnight is a sad story of a hugely inflated ego, false hopes and abuse.