15 Minutes

"OK"

15 Minutes Review


Somewhere between a buddy-cop potboiler and a blunted, commercialized "Natural Born Killers" lies "15 Minutes," a slick, violent thriller with an acerbic statement to make about media sensationalism.

Hard-drinking, cigar-chomping celebrity cop Eddie Flemming (Robert De Niro) and bristly, business-minded arson investigator Jordy Warsaw (Edward Burns) are on the trail of a pair of Eastern European criminals who have hit New York in pursuit of the new millennium American Dream: Get as famous as possible as fast as possible. How? By videotaping a killing spree and selling the tape to tabloid TV.

Yes, the plot just screams "gimmick!" and writer-director John Herzfeld ("2 days in the Valley") lays it on thick, like when the killers go to dinner in an upscale restaurant that shows their tabloid program on a wall-sized TV while snooty diners sip champagne. As if!

But I'm getting ahead of myself. How did two grimy Slavic thugs even end up in this fancy joint arguing like spoiled stars over who gets credit for their video being show on the wall behind them (one of Herzfeld's many dark humor touches)?

Fresh out of prison, they came to America to collect money owed them from the heist that got them busted in the first place. The burly Oleg (Oleg Taktarov) -- a brutal but childish 250-pounder with strangely wide-eyed daydreams about becoming famous -- steals a camcorder almost as soon as they arrive in New York and never stops taping.

His wiry, psychopathic partner Emil (Karel Roden) masterminds their plan to kill for fame, plead insanity (after all, what sane person would videotape his crimes?), then get rich selling the rights to their story while taking it easy in a psych ward. ("I love America," Emil says while watching "Roseanne" in their skid row hotel room, "No one is responsible for what they do.")

Herzfeld is a little too enamoured of such improbable contrivances, but in the era of "Survivor," "Blind Date" and the XFL, the incredibility of these characters doesn't seem quite so far-fetched.

Homicide cop De Niro and firebug Burns reluctantly join forces at the scene of the killers' first crime -- the double-murder of their former associates, which they tried to cover up by torching the place.

Burns ("Saving Private Ryan") is his usual stoic self, which works for his role and De Niro could convincingly sleepwalk through his part as an unflappable cop. But he makes an effort here to lend Eddie Flemming more character than was probably in the script. In one of the best scenes in the film, he practices proposing to his TV reporter girlfriend -- which may sound like a movie cliché until you see De Niro do it.

Of course, the very fact that the cop is in love -- not to mention in love with a journalist covering the crime spree -- means somebody is doomed. But Herzfeld is very deliberate (sometimes too deliberate) about deviating from the expected formula -- even as Burns romances a frightened witness and De Niro gets kidnapped by the killers.

The film is blessed with other good performances, like Kelsey Grammer as a greasy tabloid TV personality, and seasoned with heavy dollops of the director's sardonic, ironic humor -- both of which help make up for some of its shortcomings. But Herzfeld is overly self-indulgent, forgiving himself for falling back on trite and ridiculously staged moments, like the restaurant scene and the action movie shootout finale, because he's convinced he's being so very, very clever the rest of the time.

In fact, it's the other way around. Crafty strokes of dark comedy and self-awareness peek through what is largely a Hollywood-gritty veneer.

Herzfeld edits "15 Minutes" to a hip, energetic beat, and as you might expect he cuts to Oleg's footage way too much. Ultimately his vision of cop-movie-meets-cool-social-satire does emerge intact and somewhat amusing, but it's not nearly as deft and cogent as Herzfeld imagines it to be.



15 Minutes

Facts and Figures

Run time: 120 mins

In Theaters: Friday 9th March 2001

Box Office USA: $24.2M

Box Office Worldwide: $24.4M

Budget: $42M

Distributed by: New Line Cinema

Production compaines: Industry Entertainment, New Line Cinema, Tribeca Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 33%
Fresh: 40 Rotten: 83

IMDB: 6.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Detective Eddie Flemming, as Rose Hearn, as Jordy Warsaw, as Robert Hawkins, as Detective Leon Jackson, as Dahpne Handlova

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Advertisement
Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

Passengers Movie Review

Passengers Movie Review

Anchored by the almost ridiculously engaging Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, this sci-fi movie travels...

Neruda Movie Review

Neruda Movie Review

Clever Chilean director Pablo Larrain (who also directed Natalie Portman's Jackie) takes on the Nobel-winning...

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

Narrated by Daisy Ridley (The Force Awakens), this documentary is one of the most gripping...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.