Last Night in Rozzie, from director Sean Gannet, opens with a chaotic memory of an event that happened in 1994. We can’t really tell what’s happening, but slowly we learn what happened that night and the effect it had on the two boys involved—and the ripples it created in other lives.
Ronnie Russo (Neil Brown, Jr.) is a New York attorney tied up in a complex corporate legal issue. He’s trying to tie up many loose ends for things to be taken care of quickly. In the midst of this, he gets a call from a childhood friend, Joey Donovan (Jeremy Sisto), who is sick in Boston. They’ve had no contact for the last 25 years, but Joey needs a big favor. For reasons we only learn later, Ronnie leaves his legal colleagues in a lurch, to go up to Boston to help Joey.
Joey, we learn is dying. He wants Ronnie to help him see his son, who has been kept away from him for ten years. Joey was married to Pattie Barry (Nicky Whelan), the girl that Ronnie had a crush on back in school. So Ronnie develops a plan to try to get the boy to see Joey without Pattie knowing what he’s doing. The past relationship between Pattie and Ronnie seems to still be alive. But how can Ronnie fulfill Joey’s dying wish and still be honest with Pattie?
The film is centered around the idea of fatherhood—especially broken father-son relationships. There are no positive father-figures in the story. Joey’s father was abusive. Ronnie didn’t know his father (and his mother has no information about him). Joey has been an absent father—and we learn there may be a good reason that Pattie has kept their son from him.
It is also a story that is filled with lies. Joey is less than forthcoming with Ronnie about why he’s not seen his son. Ronnie dishonestly doesn’t tell Pattie about his contact with Joey and the reason he’s back in town. Pattie has lied to her son about Joey. All of these lies just compound upon each other. And the story finally comes around to the biggest lie, the one that we see in that opening chaotic scene from the past.
We do learn why Ronnie is so willing to try to help Joey. We learn that on that fateful night 25 years ago, their lives went in two very different directions. And we discover that Ronnie feels a great obligation because of that. The consequences of that night continue to play out in various ways—and will likely continue on through Joey’s son.
Last Night in Rozzie is in select theaters and available on VOD.
Photos courtesy of Gravitas Ventures.