When Eastern European criminals Oleg and Emil come to New York City to pick up their share of a heist score, Oleg steals a video camera and starts filming their activities, both legal and illegal. When they learn how the American media circus can make a remorseless killer look like the victim and make them rich, they target media-savvy NYPD Homicide Detective Eddie Flemming and media-naive FDNY Fire Marshal Jordy Warsaw, the cops investigating their murder and torching of their former criminal partner, filming everything to sell to the local tabloid TV show "Top Story." Written by
Jeff Cross <email@example.com>
Considering the critical drubbing this movie received, not to mention the fact that it's by the writer/director of Two Days in the Valley, I expected it to be pretty terrible. Surprisingly it turned out to be an exciting and occasionally quite funny thriller about two media obsessed thugs from the former Soviet Union who decide to become celebrities by committing a series of murders and videotaping the crimes. The movie is definitely not without serious flaws: for instance, nobody ever points out that it's almost impossible to mount a successful insanity defense in the US legal system. In a land where Jeffrey Dahmer and New York's highly delusional subway shooter are certified as sane these guys wouldn't have a shot in hell of making their case, and an insanity defence is the linchpin of their whole plan to profit from their crimes. Movie also ignores the fact that laws have been on the books to prevent criminals from profiting from their crimes by selling their stories since the 1960's. Also, given the legal and ethical ramifications involved it's hard to imagine any credible scenario under which a news program, even a sleazy tabloid news program, would pay a million dollars cash to an at large murderer for a videotape of one of his crimes and then broadcast the thing live on television. Obvious flaws aside, 15 Minutes has several shockingly well-staged action sequences, great acting (except for the guy who played Ed Burns' boss--his grating one note performance went way over the self-parody line) and occasional welcome touches of black humor, like the very funny death scene of the thug who fancied himself a film director and manufactures the final shot of his movie for maximum emotional impact. All in all 15 Minutes is a dark and funny thriller and certainly a lot better than most of the schlock Hollywood churns out.
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