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15 Minutes
15 Minutes (Soundtrack)

15 Minutes DVD cover 15 Minutes Review

15 Minutes is a solid idea that falters too often to make it a truly good film. Perhaps the true problem with this film is that it is never quite sure what it wants to be. Is it action, thriller, or maybe it's satire that turns on a dime? Who knows, maybe Herzfeld (the director) but only his DVD commentary will tell.

Set in our modern tabloid world that loves to combine sex, murder and mayhem, the one thing 15 minutes is never guilty of is boredom. Hold up though, that is not a praising statement. It is one of mediocrity. Fifteen Minutes is like a prize winning student film but in terms of what it is clearly meant to be, it fails.

The storyline is something like this...Jordy Warsaw, Arson investigator is teamed up with Celebrity Cop Eddie Fleming (Robert De Niro) after a double murder meshes their jobs into one. So it becomes a buddy flick of sorts. As the film progresses into mindless foot chases and shootouts one begins to wonder what the point really is here.

Jordy and Eddie are trying to track down a pair of Eastern European criminals, Emil and Oleg, end up going on a lengthy killing spree, ostensibly to become vicious celebrities of the media. For the movie's sake, this ploy works eventually involving a ratings whore journalist played by Kelsey Grammar. Oleg, not the brightest of the duo, likes to videotape the crimes they commit, even going as far as to dub himself Frank Capra.

The story becomes predictable...obviously the tape is going to come into play, the two would be killers bicker throughout and something has to snap. By the time Charlize Theron makes a cameo as a prostitute (no doubt due to her previous outing with Herzfeld - Two Days In The Valley) .

Semi-Relevant Sidenote here: I was discussing the movie Arlington Road last weekend with a friend as we discuss what to eat prior to doing a DVD screening of Almost Famous. Arlington Road was a good film despite showing most of the movie in the trailer. Why? Because it led you along the path, showed you every single card in its deck and still managed to surprise you with a very solid straight without ever once cheating. Fifteen Minutes refuses to show you all the cards, playing it's story very cagey but when it comes to the rather predictable conclusion where a real upset could have occurred you feel like you just lost your shirt to someone with a pair of two's. For all the pseudo media talk, the tabloid tv crud that cakes our minds for free at home we pay (12 BUCKS!?!) money for this on the big screen?

However, when this movie does shine, and it has a couple of them, it stems from the performances. De Niro is his typical self of late, putting in a paycheck experience and Ed Burns is solid, but the two bad guys steal every scene they are in.

Karel Roden (Emil), according to the studio press releases, is a leading Czech stage actor, while newcomer Oleg Taktarov (Oleg) was an Ultimate Fighting Champion from Russia. Oleg actually pulls off some of the more twisted moments of humour and both of these men elevate the movie to a higher standing than I might normally have given it.

It's impossible for me to dismiss any film that has as many morbid laughs as it does, but at the same time I would have to see what is going to be on the DVD before I want to watch it again. Maybe if loaded with some extras and a commentary by Herzfeld. Perhaps he can explain why this film has the odd flow that it does. If he can't who can?

Copyright© Written By: Rob Paul

DVD Information:

Regional Code: Region 1

Audio Tracks: English 5.1

DTS Audio Tracks: English 5.1 DTS

Closed-captioned: Yes

Ratios: Widescreen 2.35:1, Anamorphic

Special Features

Documentary: True Tabloid
Documentary: Does Crime Really Pay?
Interview Gallery
Fact and trivia subtitle track
Feature-length audio commentary with director John Herzfeld
Deleted scenes with optional commentary by director John Herzfeld
Rehearsal footage featuring Robert DeNiro and Edward Burns
"Oleg's Videos" - actual video footage captured from the actor's perspective!
Music video - God Lives Underwater - "Fame"
DVD-ROM Content includes "script-to-screen", original website and more!

The DVD Review:
Turns out Herzfield really did want to load the disc up with extras, which as I said in my earlier review, would be the only thing that gets me to watch this again. So, looks like I have a rental waiting for me. Will let you know more when I do.

Evil Ash

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