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On 28 February 1997, two men heavily armed with AK-47 try to heist the Bank of America of North Hollywood, but their plan fails and they are kept under siege by the LAPD. Along forty-four minutes, Los Angeles witnesses live on television one of the greatest shoot-out of the American history. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Scenes on the residential streets where the robbers tried escaping from the bank were filmed on the actual locations behind the real bank. See more »
In a shot of some cars passing you can see a 2002 Chevrolet Trailblazer driving past, but the movie is supposed to take place in 1997. See more »
Ninety percent of cops go through their whole career without ever firing their gun. That day, that was roughly 1500 rounds fired. We were armed with pistols. These guys were slinging automatic machine guns. An AK-47 machine gun is a weapon that was designed for war. A high-velocity round invented to penetrate armor and kill their target. You use them in a bank job, and you've done something no one in America had ever done before. Danger's all around us. In the streets. In the car. ...
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It tells the story of the infamous 1997 North Hollywood shootout, where two bank robbers, wearing body armour and carrying AK-47s unleashed an unprecedented wave of gunfire at dozens of LAPD officers as they tried to make their getaway.
The incredible footage of this incident, broadcast live from TV news helicopters is unlike anything you've seen before. It's fascinated me for years, seeing such events, straight out of Michael Mann's Heat, played out for real.
So I was looking forward to this one but it was a disappointment and makes me wonder if the story could ever be done justice in a fictional movie. In the hands of director Yves Simoneau it's little more than a bloodier version of the countless Discovery and History channel reconstruction documentaries of the incident. Indeed the film's documentary-style approach, complete with talking heads, just reminds viewers of the fact that it's been done better previously. Instead of real people recounting the events we have mediocre actors. Instead of hard facts we have small inaccuracies and timelines altered for (understandable) dramatic purposes. Instead of the horrifying real footage we have poorly-edited action sequences.
I'd recommend watching one of those aforementioned TV documentaries, or the raw footage on YouTube, to get a better idea of what happened that day. That said, the drama inherent in the story means 44 Minutes can't help but be a moderately exciting film.
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