Saturday , May 18 2024
The Long Long Night, Mark Duplass, Barret O'Brien
(L to R): Mark Duplass, Barret O'Brien in 'The Long, Long Night' (courtesy of The Long, Long Night)

Tribeca Film Festival Review: ‘The Long Long Night’ With Mark Duplass and Barret O’Brien

Looking to elevate to significance and purpose of their lives, long-time friends Peter (Mark Duplass) and Carroll (Barret O’Brien) arrange for a meet-up in a hotel room to effect their momentous plans. When their strategies for glory backfire, what results makes for the humorous, thought-provoking and hysterical TV series, The Long Long Night. Written and directed by Barret O’Brien, the “indie episodic” (TV series), which screened at Tribeca Film Festival 2023, boasts real-life friends Duplass and O’Brien in the lead roles.

There is no spoiler below. You’ll have to look for The Long Long Night on streaming platforms to check out what’s really meant by the references in this review.

The series opens in the present

The six-part series opens in the present, six months after an extended nighttime incident Peter and Carroll put each other through. Peter sends a video message to Carroll referencing that cataclysmic night, when their plans for glory exploded. Not only does he attempt to make amends, he humorously talks himself into justifications and rationalizations about what happened.

Naturally, Carroll responds. What he says creates mystery and furthers their arguments about the how and why of the event, which turned violent. The altercations unfold gradually with each segment, building the ridiculous and the serious to a conclusion when they meet live.

As Peter’s initial video message ends, a black-and-white flashback pops up and we identify Peter and Carroll’s dynamic interchanges in the motel room that fateful night. As they converse we begin to understand their ironic perspectives as straight, single white guys. Additionally, we learn the finality of their intentions, which required they take a serious oath that they trust each will uphold. As they begin to fulfill their promise to each other, Carroll turns on a camera and videos their follow-through.

What happened during that long long night?

Gradually, we learn what happened that evening, over six episodes that relate the past to the present. The storytelling flashes backward then forward as Peter and Carroll meet on Zoom and discuss “that night.”

“In color,” they individually assess their actions and reevaluate each other’s motivations. The past “truths” of the black-and-white segments reveal what really happened. Their “in color” videos to each other attempt to categorize, explain, and mitigate their feelings about the incident.

The contrast between present and past points up the difference between the objectification of their actions (present) and the chronicle of their actions (past). They believe both necessitate a reconciliation.

Suspense builds as does the humor in complexity and complication. The turning point in their relationship triggers new understanding – and fury – between them. Not only do they continue the angst of that evening in the present through their video messages, they harangue and berate each other and self-flagellate and apologize.

They attempt to answer the whys

Why did they not decide to do what they didn’t? Why did they decide to do what they did? Their annoyances, revelations and self-justifications, refreshingly novel in this time of Trumpy self-aggrandizement and arrogant infallibility, trigger the humor. These guys, antithetical to insensitive, white, single, alpha-male types, send up political correctness to the max. Their intentions to correct the “ills” that plague the culture appear quaint, hysterical and “privileged.” However, they reflect on this “privilege” with various turns during their videoconferencing in the present. Throughout, they question themselves and each other.

The series presents a complex view of two “bros” who break up, reach out to salvage their close former bond, then lash out, then apologize and repeat. Theirs appears to be a relationship worth saving. Whether they can put aside all their self-proclaimed woes and build from the LOL disaster requires temperance, humility and sensitivity. They’ve got the process, if not quite the end result. How glorious! How humorous!

The Long Long Night succeeds because of the fine performances by Duplass and O’Brien whose authenticity is spot-on. The writing is deep, clever, hysterical, maverick. One can’t help but find Peter and Carroll likable for who they want to be and falling so terribly short of it. Yet, their desire to be better people rocks. Karen Pittman’s appearance in a segment toward the end is icing on the cake of hysteria.

From Gary Lundgren’s camera work to Lionel Cohen’s droll, ironic score throughout, The Long Long Night is a uniquely entertaining must-see.

About Carole Di Tosti

Carole Di Tosti, Ph.D. is a published writer, playwright, novelist, poet. She owns and manages three well-established blogs: 'The Fat and the Skinny,' 'All Along the NYC Skyline' ( 'A Christian Apologists' Sonnets.' She also manages the newly established 'Carole Di Tosti's Linchpin,' which is devoted to foreign theater reviews and guest reviews. She contributed articles to Technorati (310) on various trending topics from 2011-2013. To Blogcritics she has contributed 583+ reviews, interviews on films and theater predominately. Carole Di Tosti also has reviewed NYBG exhibits and wine events. She guest writes for 'Theater Pizzazz' and has contributed to 'T2Chronicles,' 'NY Theatre Wire' and other online publications. She covers NYC trending events and writes articles promoting advocacy. She professionally free-lanced for TMR and VERVE for 1 1/2 years. She was a former English Instructor. Her published dissertation is referenced in three books, two by Margo Ely, Ph.D. Her novel 'Peregrine: The Ceremony of Powers' will be on sale in January 2021. Her full length plays, 'Edgar,' 'The Painter on His Way to Work,' and 'Pandemics or How Maria Caught Her Vibe' are being submitted for representation and production.

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