15 Minutes (2001) Poster


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Surprisingly good
jhs393 June 2003
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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Makes you think
segacs5 February 2005
This movie took a severe beating in the press and most reviews, so I wasn't expecting much when I went to see it. However, I was pleasantly surprised, and reassured that my distrust of what the newspaper reviewers think is not misplaced.

This movie has a cast that includes the supremely talented Robert de Niro, Kelsey Grammar, and Edward Burns. It has some excellent writing and some top-notch acting performances. But its real accomplishment is how it makes you think.

The increasing relationship between crime and the media is not linear, and the movie does tend to oversimplify at times. In many respects, it suffers horribly from being predictable, although there were instances where it strayed sharply from the "rules" of formulaic movies. (Saying any more on that score would give away important aspects of the plot, so I'll refrain from elaborating.) Furthermore, in true Hollywood tradition, the main villains are dumb, completely amoral, and oh, did I mention foreign? The idea might have been to give an outsider perspective on the abuse of American culture, but that angle ultimately just plays into outdated audience prejudices against people who speak with an Eastern European accent.

Too, the movie has very graphic violence - but not as bad as I'd expected, and not as bad as what is shown in many other movies. Through creative camera angles, many of the bloodiest scenes are only obscurely hinted at, leaving the audience to fill in the pieces.

Not surprisingly, many entertainment reviewers disliked the movie, because it has the effect of exposing some of the more negative effects of the media. "15 Minutes" does not claim that the media causes violence; rather, it explains that the interplay between the two is ingrained in American culture. This movie may not be saying anything original, but it is sufficiently entertaining and thought-provoking to make it worth seeing.
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One of the Best Commentaries I've Ever Seen
Krog__2 August 2004
This movie is a commentary. It is a commentary of fame, of the media, of America's justice system; and it's one of the best fictional film commentaries I've ever seen. Robert De Niro and Edward Burns star as a cop and a fireman, respectively, searching for two murderers played by Karel Roden and Oleg Taktarov. A few other great actors round out the cast of this medium-paced thriller/actioner with some depth of thought. At the very least it keeps you entertained until its cool ending.

I would highly recommend this to anyone who's ever watched a newscast, ever seen someone get off on the insanity plea or ever wondered what goes on behind the curtain of the justice system. Just see it.
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Pretty Good to the Last Minute!
meeza2 April 2001
The following review for the film `15 Minutes' will probably take you around that same time to read it. Wait! Come back! I was joking! This film is another flick that satirizes the media's influence in depicting real life crimes as sensationalistic newsgathering for the general public. We have seen this before in films such as `Natural Born Killers.' Critics have ridiculed `15 Minutes' because they say that the film actually demonstrates the same exact thing that it tries to satirize. It does this by showing gory murder -type violence and utilizing famous stars in small cameo roles. Even though I do have to agree with this concept that my colleagues (don't I wish) have criticized, I should say to them to `just wait one minute, or fifteen for that matter' and do not take it so seriously. Why? Because the film does entertain. I think that critics should just leave it at. By the way, the film is about a homicide detective and an arson investigator who hunt down some eastern european psychos who film their crimes on video. Robert Deniro, who plays the homicide detective, is more low key in this one; and Eddie Burns cinematic presence adds fuel to the fire as the arson investigator. I really do have to say that I enjoyed mostly every minute in `15 Minutes' even though most critics don't second my opinion.

**** Good
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Unconventional and unexpected; a great film that takes a strong, brave stand on American culture. ***1/2 (out of four)
Movie-1215 March 2001
FIFTEEN MINUTES / (2001) ***1/2 (out of four)

By Blake French:

"Fifteen Minutes" is a powerful, thought-provoking, and unexpected thriller about real life. It is a thematic movie that makes a strong, supported, and convincing stand on many current controversial issues, targeting and exposing the many weaknesses and absurdities of the American legal systems. The film also incorporates prospects dealing with greed, power, popularity, the public eye, influences of media, the power of television, and the desire of immigrants to achieve fame in America. This is not your typical Hollywood action flick; it is occupied with twists and unconventional surprises in which many producers would stay far away. "Fifteen Minutes" is a movie with guts and impact, and for the first time in a long time, the theater audience where I screened the film gave it a recognizable applause as the closing credits appeared.

"Fifteen Minutes" is complete with big Hollywood names, like Robert De Niro, Edward Burns, Kelsey Grammer, and even includes cameos from several distinguishable actors: Charlize Theron has a neat little appearance as a recruiter for hookers, and David Alan Grier shows up as a pedestrian causing trouble in New York City. But the movie actually centers on two Eastern European immigrants named Emil Slovak (Karel Roden), and Oleg Razgul (Oleg Taktarov). They have come to the United States looking for a man who owes them a large sum of money, but eventually discover opportunities for fame. They kill their debtors and capture the murders on a stolen home video camera. There is, of course, an illegal immigrant who witnessed the crime, Daphne (Vera Farmiga), who is now wary and on the run.

Enter homicide detective Eddie Flemming (De Niro), a local celebrity, and arson investigator Jordy Warsaw (Burns), who could not care less about the media. They form a team to undercover what appears to be a fatal fire accident, but soon discover the scene was the location of a brutal murder. Enter a subplot where a veteran detective informs a novice of the same sort new ways to explore his profession. The story then takes an unexpected turn of events where the criminal's intentions explode into sadistic atrocity: Oleg and Emil plan to sell the video of their murders to a TV network anchor (Kelsey Grammer) for a million dollars. They intend to beat the charges with an insanity plea, also stating that they were abused as children. Why would the two immigrants want to do such a thing? To achieve fame-even if it is of a notorious nature.

We wait patiently for the story to take off with the setup, but it stays with two separate narratives for quite sometime. When the narratives do cross its obvious this is not your typical, run-of-the-mill action picture, but an insightful picture that says something about, among many other concepts, the power and influence of the media. The madman fascinated with video taping is "yesterday's news" already seen in 1999's "American Beauty." It does not have the same impact in this film, however, mostly because here it is more of a sadistic obsession never truly understood, rather than the passion and exploration in the multiple Academy Award winner. It is fun watching the incidences photographed with the home video camera; there are some cool special effects that add a nice touch to the scenes.

Robert De Niro gives another suave hotshot performance; it is coming to the point where his talent is more effective in shtick comedies like "Analyzed This." Regardless, the veteran actor grabs us by the collar and yanks with no regrets and a thought-provoking, determined attitude. The screenplay provides his character with an effective soft side through a romance with his girlfriend. Edward Burns ("Saving Private Ryan") is never really bad in a movie, but his personality feels too resigned and modest to be in these violent dramas. He has a few understood moments, and often his performance fits his character accordingly, but a braver, more aggressive actor may have fit the part better.

Surprisingly, the best performances in "Fifteen Minutes" come from the villains, Oleg Taktarov and Karel Roden. Both are very clever in their roles, which are also exceedingly well written: when the two encounter a visit with a local prostitute, the scene does not result in mechanical sex, but in violent misunderstanding that furthers the complications of the plot. Both actors are convincing and unpredictable. Many early critics have complained about the film's implausibility, but Taktarov and Roden portray their characters with such mean-spirited brutality and complex emotions, I believed every step they took.

John Herzfeld is the film's director. His last project, "2 Days in the Valley," was quite a bit different from "Fifteen Minutes." There are certain aspects of his filmmaking style that carry over, but for the most part this film stands on its own from his previous achievements. Herzfeld constructs "Fifteen Minutes" with complexity and thought. It is a brave, courageous movie, deserving of controversy but will likely pass as a theme-orientated action picture. I think most audiences will appreciate the production for what it is and how it informs us on such distressing issues. When we walk out of the theater, we get a sense that we trust in our government's legal system even less than we did before watching the movie.
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It has its good parts
081313520229 September 2001
15 Minutes is a thriller one needs to think about for a while, maybe even sleep on it, especially before writing any comments. I got the movie on DVD two days ago and I hardly couldn't wait to watch it, because I had already read quite a few comments, mostly negative one's, on it over the past few months. At first I was kind of disappointed. I was not the kind of movie I had expected. I was hoping to see a movie as great as `Heat' or `Ronin'. But one cannot compare these three movies. They are completely different. So I let my first impressions rest for a while and watched the movie the next day a second time. 15 Minutes is not as bad a movie after all. It has its good parts, though I would prefer some things to be different.

The movie clearly shows how greedy and immoral the media can be if it comes to win ratings and get some money, even though it appears to be overdone in some parts. `Bad news is good news!' That is how it has always been and that is how it will always be, as long as there is an audience. Who would watch a news channel with only good news? People want sensation, even though they don't want to admit it. But there is certainly a limit to what the media should broadcast. In this movie the media exceeds this limit by far. Furthermore the film quite well points out the problem with the insanity plea. Some critics say the film glorifies violence, which is not right. The two bad guys in this movie are so ugly and their crimes are so heinous, one cannot but loathe their deeds. I also want to mention how well chosen the cast is. Robert DeNiro is, as always, brilliant is his role. His performance is definitely the highlight in this movie. The action scenes are very well done too.

What I didn't like is the way the story goes in some parts. For example how the two criminals get access to Eddy's (Robert DeNiro) apartment. A famous detective just doesn't make a stupid mistake like this. Then the bad guy Oleg with the digital camcorder acts just way too silly, which lets him appear rather unrealistic to me. Even though he is meant to be crazy, his stupid behavior goes way too far. His character can not be taken seriously. Edward Burns as the arson investigator also has to act a little too unprofessional at times, which doesn't add anything positive to his character's credibility. All this gives the whole story an unrealistic touch from time to time, which is very sad. In general I don't like a movie to be cut down just to get it to an 2-hour length. Most of the time I prefer to have the deleted scenes put back in again, but this movie is really better off without them. The final scene has an interesting twist, but the coincidence with Nicolette is just too farfetched. Oleg's final appearance looks ridiculous and doesn't fit into the whole tragic, unless it were supposed to be a comedy. It is a tense thriller, with some suspense, though only two scenes really kept me on the edge of my seat. I also missed scenes introducing some more the characters played by Robert DeNiro and Edward Burns.

Nevertheless I rank it a 7 out of 10.
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Not bad at all
flawless-16 October 2001
I've been reading some of the previous comments, and to be frank, I don't see what the big deal is. The main objection here is that this movie actually does take on several themes, and at times the moods will shift altogether, but you never lose your interest in the film- yet how can you- with all the comedy, thrill, and action packed sequences; this sure is a winner in my opinion. It's also a movie where, and I don't see how anyone can deny this, the bad guys steal the show: two men wanting to make movies, who came to America to be rich and famous, perhaps even to leave a legacy. If you've seen the movie, then you know this, so why bother even going into the messages this movie is sending out? There are some serious aspects to it, and then there aren't, which is the same with all movies, but overall, this is an Action/Comedy/Drama (Wow, that sounds weird) which is the shortest title you can give it. I suggest this movie to everyone who is willing to watch an original story that gives you everything you could want in a film, perhaps not too recommended for a very serious crowd... If you can't deal with that, just leave it alone, because going against this movie is just plain pointless and you should get a new hobby. (Seriously....)

This movie ends on a fun note, and has something for everyone. Do yourself a favor and see it :)
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Lame, more than a little repellent
dj_bassett14 March 2006
Warning: Spoilers
One of those genre movies that really exist to Say Something Important. This one comes from a time when some people in America thought the gravest threat to this country was Fast Food Media ala "A Current Affair". Anyway, two criminals – one Czech and one Russian (the movie makes a big deal of distinguishing them, though it makes absolutely no difference in the plot), come to America to kill a partner of their's. They soon become immersed in the world of talk shows, and decide that the quickest route to fame and fortune is to kill somebody famous, plead insanity, go to the mental home, say they're not insane, then get out and write a best selling book and make a movie. Or something, it's not exceptionally clear – although presumably that's the point. (Although the movie has to allow its criminals enough smarts to be able to plot deadly arson traps and track down witnesses in a foreign country, which is unbelievable in the extreme.) Their target is Robert De Niro, an improbably famous NYC cop who they see on the cover of "People" Movie suffers in part from having its bad guys way out-act the nominal protagonists, De Niro and Ed Burns, both of whom have the charisma here of dead fish in a dying pond. So much so that I spent a lot of the time hoping the bad guys would win. Movie also suffers from a truly terrible script. Characters spout clichés as a way to Illustrate the Point ("If it bleeds it leads!" Kelsey Grammar's character says, as though it had never been said before). Oddball situations arise for essentially no reason and the script has to do a ton of backfilling in order to explain them, such as why Ed Burns, a fire inspector, is basically De Niro's partner, or how a crazy Czech killer knows enough to rig an apartment to burn up. Characters scream at other characters about something or other, but it never seems to mean anything in the long run. Etc. (The script does deserve to be commended for one very neat plot twist halfway through, though.) And the movie's oddly repellent. It wants to preach to its audience about the dangers of mass media, but besides the general hypocrisy of having a movie, of all things, tell me this, there's a specific vibe here that glories in the same thing it's denouncing. There's a completely gratuitous murder of a prostitute here, for instance, that's excitingly shot and performed and seems to exist only to gin the ratings up to an "R": I'd rather not be lectured on morality by a movie that does that.

In general, 15 MINUTES is a secret sharer in the very thing it denounces. Avoid.
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Good film about crime and media-- 7/10
Sfpsycho41516 October 2003
Robert De Niro does great in this movie. Like we haven't heard that before. You can tell he tries to let Edward Burns have his time, but he is such a charismatic screen presence, people would probably pay to watch him sit in a chair for two hours. The movie around him is also good, touching on the interesting topic of the media's effect on violent crimes. Edward Burns does a good job, but i think the real stars here (except for De Niro, of course) are the two East European criminals who come to America searching for fame and fortune, played by Karel Roden and Oleg Taktarov. They are funny and terrifying all at the same time. Oleg's character seems like a friendly guy, but he is actually a violent pervert. And Karel's character is just plain nuts. I recommend this movie for the great performances and it's thought provoking premise. 7/10
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Unfair Billings And An Underpublized Film
ccthemovieman-19 January 2007
This a rough, edgy film but the interesting characters make it entertaining for the full two hours. For some reason, I don't believe this film got a lot of publicity.

Karol Roder doesn't get any billing but he's as much a star in this movie as big-names Robert Redford and Edward Burns. Another actor who also has a key role, Oleg Taktarov, has no billing! Wow, they really hosed the Eastern European actors in here.

The film is partially another indictment against the tabloid press. Playing the villain in that regard is good 'ole "Frasier" from TV: Kelsey Grammar. He plays a foul-mouthed tabloid television sleazoid "Robert Hawkins.

Sometimes this got a bit too edgy for me, nor did I appreciate Burns' verbal blasphemy, but I also enjoyed some of the black humor in here. Overall, it's not a film that, frankly, was that memorable yet I would watch it again.
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A little correction...
ASyD14 April 2002
Now, firstly, I found the movie to be a pretty tense and rough one. The idead behind the film showed itself thoroughly in the secomd half and it was less subtle and more definitive then it should be, but i still think its good to have such ideas in a Hollywood movie. Second thing, the camerawork of this movie is awesome, finaly moviemakers are regressing from the typical steadicam widescreen bombastic camera shots and arre returning to the "amateurish" and personal level of camerawork. But the thing that I REALLY want to state here is this : you guys are crazy arent you ?!?! Ive read some of the comments and all Ive seen is how Robert DeNiro and Edward Burns were the stars of the movie...I even read that the movie lost appeal once DeNiro´s character was out of the way...NOW what a bulls***...yes DeNiro made his high standart performance no doubt, Burns was also FINEEE...BUT how can you not notice that the two psychopats were the showstealers here...I dont know Oleg Taktarov as an actor but he gave soul in his performace..and Karel Roden (yeah..I know im from Czech republic myself, but Im being realistic), hes one heluva actor and it SHOWS here...his character is not only a violent psychopat, he looks at the american society through the tv screen and what he sees makes him try his luck....a smart villian indeed....
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15 Minutes of Fame.
Python Hyena15 May 2015
Warning: Spoilers
15 Minutes (2001): Dir: John Herzfeld / Cast: Robert De Niro, Edward Burns, Kelsey Grammar, Vera Farmiga, Karel Roden: Thriller where two psychotic killers commit murders via camcorder as if it was their 15 minutes of fame. They believe that the media will support them in their plea of insanity. Robert De Niro plays a celebrity cop who arrives upon crime sites with cameras trailing him. Edward Burns plays a rookie cop who believes that a woman on the scene is connected. Kelsey Grammar plays a talk show host hoping to make a name for himself filming De Niro's investigations. Great concept is well directed by John Herzfeld who plays this like a reality TV segment. De Niro does well as the celebrity cop investigating the crime. He is set to propose to his girlfriend before tragedy strikes. He is involved in a nonsense scene where he fights two guys while taped to a chair. Burns steals the film as the rookie cop pushed to the limits when someone close to him is murdered for entertainment. When made a concluding offer he answers with swift aggression. Grammar as the media host is a corrupt sort who learns rather bluntly that Burns cannot be bought. Vera Farmiga plays a witness whom the killers track down through escort services. Karel Roden and Oleg Taktarov are well cast as the criminals and they steal the film with their media frenzy and 15 minutes. Score: 9 / 10
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An ugly movie not worth 15 minutes, let alone two hours
trevor-4110 March 2001
It's so much easier for me when a movie is just plain bad. 15 Minutes does me the disservice of sticking little bits of originality or thought provoking material in with the excess that makes up the rest of the movie. As a film, it has many flaws. It's choppy, with many useless scenes (watch for the scene towards the end with Ed Burns and Emil in the warehouse-what's the point?). It's characters are generally contrived and silly, but are brought to half-life only by the actors behind them. It is original in some spots (one in particular), but mostly runs on tired cliche. The timing of the humor is very poor, and leads to a general feeling of awkward discomfort in the audience. Everything about this film, right down to costumes and set decoration, is extremely ugly. I don't know if that was intended, but it's just plain hard to look at. The entire film was surrounded by that aura of ugliness- ugliness not only of the sets and costumes, but of the characters and story.

And that story involves a cop named Eddie Flemming (Robert DeNiro), an inferior rehash of Kevin Spacey's Jack Vincennes in L.A. Confidential. Eddie uses the media to make his job easier- and as a result, has become a minor celebrity. Edward Burns plays Jordi Warsaw, a New York Fire Marshall who joins Eddie on the case to find two Eastern European criminals newly in the US to wreak havoc. They have learned from watching television that no one in America is responsible for what they do- and that the media run the show. Murderers become millionaires, and these two know it. They begin to kill and videotape their killings. They plan to kill somebody famous and sell it for millions of dollars. Eddie and Jordi have to stop them.

Now you might ask, why is a fireman on the case- The answer is that there is no answer. They throw in a bit with fire just to bring the Jordi character into it. All writers in Hollywood like to invent different jobs that allow people to be just like cops- without being cops. I guess they figure it makes it more exciting because the cop thing has been done so much. They're wrong. Making the character a fireman is a distraction, leaving the audience wondering what he's doing there. There is no justification for his presence at the crime scenes. Just making him DeNiro's character would have allowed the film to run much smoother.

There are lots of scenes, character developments, and even romances in this film that serve absolutely no purpose. Writer/Director Herzfeld was filling gaps where they didn't need to be filled. It shows that he was looking for something to do, that he only really had one idea, and was strained to make a two hour film out of it.

I mentioned the film's ugliness- It just leaves you with a sick feeling in your stomach. This isn't a sign that the material was effective, just horrible. In a way, the movie is mean spirited, and that is never a good thing. The way the humor was added showed absolutely no skill on the part of the filmmaker. He should have watched his own movie before releasing it, because if he did, he would know how awkward that humour is.

So it all sounds pretty bad, I know. The film's only high points come from generally good performances (DeNiro never fails, even if the script does) and a single point of originality. The film's message, regarding the injustice of the American system, and its preoccupation with fame, publicity, image and the media that creates it all, are points well taken, but not properly executed. The first hour of the movie is deeply unentertaining and choppy, but the second half, at least, becomes somewhat suspenseful and little bit interesting.

Overall, 15 Minutes should be avoided. It was an ugly movie with low points far outnumbering the high ones.
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Deniro, disappear-o!
Benjamin Wolfe13 February 2007
I had wondered about seeing this, it looked like sliced and packaged violence with no meaning, but that is just not the real scoop here. DeNiro and Burns are sharp in this 'sleeper' hit of 2001!! This film, by writer /director John Herzfeld, ( Two Days In The Valley -1996 ) is a look at the way the media moves in and out of important news dealing with crimes and murder. Often times as this film depicts, crimes become glamorized if the perpetrator(s) are beautiful, handsome or interesting in some way. As though the justice system, that needs fixing, can be bought and sold, in regard to social status, money or fame, even infamy.

These two European men, Slovak and partner Razgul travel to the U.S. to make a new and popular life for themselves seeking riches and fame---carried on the backs of others, becoming ' victims' for their own aggrandizement a perverted pursuit of Freedom and power.

Through the city itself, tracking these two foreign madmen, Burns and DeNiro's characters are right in the way of death, putting their lives on the line to catch the two 'MTV /Jackass, Faces of death' deranged fans looking to pave a career way, from the demise of others. Robert works hard and convincingly in this, as the officer and Burns is good as a supporting man.

I say this is a white knuckle -fast action thrill ride that is great for action fans that love a biting and twisted story with a surprise end that leaves you knocked-out!! Plus I love the fact that I had a former female friend that was in this as a reporter in the crowd.

9 out of ten. There is only one reason that I gave this a 9 and not a ten. Watch it and you'll see.
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Pot film calls kettle tv black
Spleen5 November 2001
Warning: Spoilers
Credit where credit's due. Robert DeNiro does a good job. Unlike everyone else, he plays a human being. He also has the good sense not to appear until most of the clumsy exposition is out of the way, and also to -

Spoiler! Spoiler!

  • to die halfway through, before the film becomes truly dreadful. Afterwards I found myself forgetting that he had been there at all. A human character ... in "15 Minutes"? Surely I must have imagined it.

The hero (a fireman/cop) seems a nice enough guy at the start, which makes his subsequent moral nosedives all the more depressing. Not just depressing; sickening, too, since the film seems unaware that its hero is doing anything particularly wrong; in fact, he never loses his self-possession, and we're clearly meant to be cheering him on. Ugh. For the record, here's the worst of it (more spoilers ahead, obviously):

(1) He kidnaps the villain (who was already under arrest), and takes him to a warehouse for a reason that's never clearly stated - I presume it's to inflict pain.

(2) He confronts the lawyer who got the villain off on a contrived insanity plea to deliver some high-horse posturing. And what does he say? The kind of what-about-the-victims-of-crime talkback radio speech that ought to remain buried there. Does it occur to ANYONE in this kind of film that the purpose of courts is not, repeat NOT, to exact revenge?

(3) He shoots the villain. Six times. Arguably, the first shot freed a hostage, and, if you think the villain needed to die, then the second shot achieved something, too, in killing him; but the remaining four shots were pure bloodlust. There was little to justify even the first shot. The "hero" was no longer a policeman, but a private citizen taking the law into his own hands; moreover, the villain had already been decisively defeated (you have to pay attention to notice this, since by the final scene the director has long since forgotten what his film was supposed to be about). What's particularly disgusting is the way this scene is presented. We see law enforcement officials smiling to themselves as the hero - now a criminal himself - walks away from the scene of the shooting. Nobody stops him. Our hero, we're meant to think, having become a gunslinger, is now a MAN. Wrong. He was a man at the start of the film; he is now a petulant child.

The film ends with so much random, tawdry sensation that you have to stop and ask: WHAT, exactly, is its complaint against random, tawdry sensation on television?
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What a waste
cpotts134 October 2001
With Edward Burns, Robert De Niro and Kelsey Grammar, this could have been a great movie with excellent characters. Instead it is what so many other "message" movies are -- a violent, misanthropic mess. I would have like to have seen a greater examination of De Niro's character motives for staying in the spotlight, the genesis of he and Grammar's relationship, and more about Burns' desire to be a hero and his quick attachment to De Niro's cop. Instead, we get a pair of ultraviolent villians, a ridiculous plot, and one-note characters that I cared nothing about. The great Avery Brooks (Capt. Cisco from "Deep Space Nine") is thoroughly wasted as one of De Niro's cop buddies. And any shred of believability or integrity the movie had left is completely blown by the ending, which is as predictable as it is awful. There is a better movie inside "15 Minutes" that could have been made, but this version is not it. A definite Must-Not-See.
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Stinging, hopped up satire of the media and violence
NateWatchesCoolMovies8 August 2015
John Herzfield's 15 Minutes is a mean spirited little slice of satirical fun, with an eclectic, nihilistic vibe that grabs you, holds on and stings after. It deals with the media's fixation on lurid, disgusting human beings and the violent acts they commit, glorifying such spectacle and pouring salt in the wound simply for rating. Robert Deniro plays NY detective Eddie Flemming, a burnt out hero cop who stages busts so the press can see him in action and get the scoop. When two demented, psychopathic eastern European guys come to town to collect an old debt, they go on an impulsive crime spree and discover that by filming their crimes and peddling the footage to a sleazeball news network they can gain money, and notoriety. Fleming and a rookie arson investigator (Ed Burns) are soon on their trail as their rampage reaches feverish heights of heinous villainy. Karel Roden, an astoundingly good Czech actor, gives the best work of the film as the lead nut job, giving us a grinning, cunning, joker esque portrait of evil. MMA fighter Oleg Taktarov is deadpan good as his child like, brutish companion. Kelsey Grammar plays the amoral, smutty news anchor expertly, and there's great work from David Alan Grier, Melinda Kanakaredes, Vera Farmiga, and a nice cameo from Charlize Theron. The film knows it has to be unpleasant to get its point across, and has fun with the twitchy, almost Tony Scott like excess of style. The heart of the film rests with Roden and Taktarov though, follow in them almost like protagonists and letting them do their thing, like a nightmare, Slavic version of Laurel and Hardy. It's a deliciously twisted little flick with some cool ideas, a great cast and a cheerfully trashy style.
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few for Trivia and Goofs or something
glum239 October 2008
First sentence of bad guy Emil Slovak in movie is not "Don't fool around." as subtitle says but its "You cannot take pictures here." Daphne claims, she killed a cop in Slovakia. Than in movie she says for TV, she will go in to Czech republic to face charges agaist her. Czech and Slovakia are two different states. Very close nations + language etc. Once joined in one state. You can suppose, she'll be delivered for trial to Slovakia in the end :o) Daphne is for us Czechs as "typical" name as you named an American "Francois" instead Johny. She does not look as czech girl by any chance. Every time when I see her character in movie I have to laugh really for long time :o))) But she is pretty too, very, very nice girl,OK :o) Emil have second name Slovak. He is Czech. It seem to be quite joke because "Slovak" is our and slovak term for slovak nationality. But you can find it in our second names sometime too :o) I like 15 minutes very much and bw. consider this movie as the best acting of Karel Roden (as Emil) in foreign movie ever ;-) pls, sorry, my poor English
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Very exciting but unbelievable and sadistic
preppy-319 March 2001
Two foreigners (one Russian, the other Czech) go to America and decide to get rich by videotaping themselves murdering people, sell it to a sleazy TV tabloid host (wonderfully played by Kelsey Garmmer), get off by pleading insanity and then sell their story to the highest bidder. Obviously, the plot is ridiculous. Also it decries violence but shoves scenes of extreme blood and violence in our face--one sadistic sequences shows a topless hooker being beaten and stabbed the death. Also we get more than a few shots of her nude, bloody body afterwords. Yet, if you ignore the loopholes (and there are many) in the plot and brace yourself for the violence, the film works. It's virtually nonstop action, violence, noise going at you full blast. The acting--well, who cares? This movie is not an acting movie. DeNiro walks through his role as a celebrity cop and Edward Burns looks very handsome but utterly miserable all through the film. Also the two psychos tend to overdo it too much. And the constant switching between video and film stock gets tiresome real quick. But if it's a loud, noisy, stupid, fun (in a way) action film you're looking for...this is it!
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Just About a Quarter Hour
inspectors7119 April 2007
There was just about 1/8 of this movie that I took it seriously. I was cringing and feeling sick at the bloody slaughter of people throughout the film. I was embarrassed for the screenwriters when I couldn't tell if the movie wanted to be an action thriller or a dark satire (and the result was a foolish parody). There was frustration with the wasting of the talents of Charlize Theron and Melina Kanakaredes.

15 Minutes is such a dispiriting mess of a something-or-another. There are so many good things that get lost or wasted or used incorrectly. Only three things about this movie are done well. Whenever Karel Roden, the lead killer is smoking a cigarette, you swear there's a hallucinogenic drug in the tobacco--he just looks crazier with every drag. In between all the stupid twists and turns, there are a few that just leave you gasping with surprise and shock. Finally, the scene with Edward Burns and Vera Farmiga trapped in the apartment with fire advancing on them and the bad guys watching from across the street was one of the more suspenseful, yet not ludicrous set pieces I've recently seen in a movie.

Unfortunately, a smidgen of good here and there does not fill 121 minutes. When the parody is played out and the roar of ritualistic gunfire has dissipated, your left with nothing much more than a remake of David Bowie's "Fame" blaring in your ears.

Not a good note to leave on.
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Disturbing look at the cult of celebrity
mab848531 August 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Warning: Spoilers follow:- In the days of "reality" TV this movie is most topical. People don't require talent to be (in)famous, all they need do is murder a celebrity as happens here. That a TV show is willing to pay murderers for their story is even more disturbing - this is a short step from reality today. Indeed, this has happened in Australia already eg. with convicted murderer Mark "Chopper" Read and various other lesser criminals - the so-called "chequebook journalism". In this movie De Niro is the victim as opposed to his roles in "Taxi Driver" and "King of Comedy". The movies only weakness is its ending that leaves the viewer with a feeling of satisfaction that the murderers get their "just desserts". In reality it is just as conceivable that the murderers would escape the murder rap and get paid for their story. Nevertheless a good topical story that stirs emotions 7/10.
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PugsMom13 March 2001
I haven't read the critic's reviews but I heard that they didn't love it...however I did. Furthermore, I don't like or always trust most critics. Anyway, back to the matter at heart.

"15 Minutes" is a graphic, often disturbing, roller-coaster ride of a film which basically depicts how sleazy the media can be. The acting is SUPERB and the characters are very believable. DeNiro gives an outstanding performance as a famous local cop who is obviously well respected and good at what he does. Ed Burns is the local fire marshall who also does a wonderful job of acting humble to DeNiro's somewhat flamboyant character. The men who play the killers are INCREDIBLE actors who play sociopaths at their finest. Kelsey Grammar does a wonderful job as the sleazeball journalist who will do anything for a good story. While I didn't like his character, I loved to hate him, which is always a good thing.

There is a lot of graphic violence in this movie, which didn't bother me but may bother some. It is definitely not a movie for kids. The only problem I had with this film was it's cliched message. I mean, we already know that the media is sleazy, but what makes "15 Days" special is the way in which Grammar gets a hold of his sleazy footage. That, to me, was unique.

If you're a DeNiro fan don't miss this one.
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Bad Czech
tedg12 March 2001
Some films get extra points from me for ambition. Even in failure, they raise the bar. This film aims high and fails.

What this film has is a very clever self-referential notion: another film about films, but one that directly indicts its own audience. It also has two excellent bad guys. These guys really move like East Europeans (like Liam in 'Schindler'), which starts out with a set of movements that is rare in film, and adds an unusual logic with a visual metaphor.

Plus we have deNiro in a role that is more apt than any of his recent ones. He plays someone who lives to be seen by a camera. (He practices his proposal as if it were to be filmed -- shades of "Taxi Driver" -- plus his intended is reporter!) He uses a different set of moves than the visitors, and which are natural to the man, and are already common enough to be self-parodied. But watching an actor act like an actor is a treat, especially when we have two guys who turn into actors and a slew of TeeVee people who are in front of cameras, but who don't know the moves. Then deNiro gets killed. That's novel. Theron has a powerful few minutes. Farmiga is lovely, playing much the same as her "Autumn" role.

With this alone, Soderburgh could have done really well. This could be the sort of stuff that would make up for Ritchie's fluff problem. But in Herzfeld's hands, it turns to goo, because he lards it up with so many formulaic devices.

The primary problem is the Burns character, Warsaw. Everything about him is tired. This is a fellow that avoids the camera, avoids people, acts as the center of intelligence, the detective, the spine of the film. But he actually plays none of these things, just an automatic device, played by a rank mugger. This problem of stereotype is compounded by the introduction of the anchor and lawyer. Its the easiest thing in the world to poke fun at these smarmy types. But what we have here are cardboard.

This formulaic machinery progressively drags things into the mediocre until the banal ending, with the hero walking away having tasted his revenge. Oh why do writers not give endings the attention they deserve? Why does Hollywood force such drek, always on the end?
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The Blackest of Black Comedies
gws-223 February 2002
I hesitate to call "15 Minutes" a comedy of any kind but it seems the most apt shorthand description for it is "black comedy." The movie pokes savagely satirical fun at the media, the criminal justice system, and those who would use the media (and be used by it) in order to attain their 15 minutes of fame. I suspect that most who see this film will either love it or hate it because it is violent and ultimately sad. Nevertheless,it is funny, smart, well acted, and beautifully photographed, too. Recommended. 7 out of 10.
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Too much graphic and gratuitous violence
hpayson24 November 2001
This movie can't decide whether it's a satire or a reality film. The two villains are psychos and each and every detail of their murderous acts are vividly portrayed. If intended as a criticism of the media the movie failed, as the movie's graphic, gratuitous violence is itself subject to criticism. The only lesson I learned (and discarded) is that violence is the answer to violence. I have seen other films equally violent, but I usually was able to come away with something valuable. Not so here.
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