Director John Herzfeld’s new action movie “15 Minutes” is a movie that shows just how far people will go for 15 minutes of fame.
Robert De Niro gives a stellar performance as Eddie Flemming, a tough New York City homicide detective, who is constantly in the media’s spotlight. A spotlight so bright that it seems as though he gets no work done.
Jordy Warsaw, a department arson investigator played by Edward Burns, works with DeNiro to track down a pair of immigrant killer arsonists, whose actions have become glorified by the media. The duo is sensationalized because the two killers, Oleg Razgul, played by Siberia native Oleg Taktarov, and Emil Slovak, played by Czechoslovakian actor Karel Roden, taped their crimes. However, the reasons why the two men have become vicious killers is somewhat dry.
In the beginning, Razgul and Slovak come through U.S. Customs hoping to meet up with a man who supposedly has their share of the money the three collected from a bank robbery. Prior to finding their accomplice’s apartment, one of the men steals a digital camcorder that he wants to use to make movies.
Upon arriving at their cohort’s apartment, they realize that he doesn’t have their money. Naturally, as is common in most action films of this variety, not having someone’s money is a prerequisite for becoming murdered.
The whole movie could have ended here, because Razgul and Slovak came for their money and did not receive it. But the two men, for reasons that are completely unknown, decide to tape themselves murdering, and then setting on fire, the bodies of their former cohort and his wife. Warsaw is dispatched to the crime scene but once authorities learn the victims died before the fire, Flemming comes to investigate. Few scenes depict Flemming and Warsaw becoming friends, but, nonetheless, a bond is formed.
The overall concept of the film is good, but it is carried out shadily. You never really understand why Razgul and Slovak begin killing and taping them. It is clear why they seek out their victims, but it isn’t apparent why they continue on as they do. After seeing violence glorified on a tabloid newsmagazine by Kelsey Grammar, who plays tabloid news anchor Robert Hawkins and will do anything for ratings, the killers decide to kill to cash in on their 15 minutes of fame.
It seems as though the film is satirizing American society by depicting the obsession the media has with violence. The film also questions the American justice system that sends those who plead insanity to rehabilitation facilities instead of prison. These laws play a key role in this film, but they are not depicted realisticly. The film is not very realistic, with many underlying subplots and people taking justice into their own hands.
This film is one that I would recommend to people who just flat out love Robert De Niro because if you’re not a De Niro lover then you need to spend at least 15 minutes looking for a better film.
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