Worth A Look: 20.62%
Pretty Bad: 31.96%
Total Crap: 23.71%
9 reviews, 43 user ratings
by Matt Mulcahey
15 Minutes wants to be a message film. But it doesn't seem exactly sure what that message is, firing scattershot across a landscape of societal targets and connecting with none of them.The targets are broad and easy, favorite cinematic punching bags like the media and lawyers, but 15 Minutes throws flailing roundhouses instead of precise jabs, making broad, general assumptions. Our legal system is in shambles, the media is wicked
"Don't waste your time with 15 Minutes"
and exploitative, American's are whores for fame and will do whatever evil bidding they must to thrust themselves into the spotlight.
All of these assumptions are, at best, debatable, and, at least, insulting and cliched.
The film stars Robert De Niro as a New York City cop who's become so famous he's on the cover of Time magazine. He teams up (improbably) with fame shunning arson investigator Edward Burns to track down two Eastern European nuts who have been videotaping their murders.
The film starts solidly, with De Niro and Burns sharing good chemistry and some well done action sequences, but the grandiose social commentary quickly spirals out of the control of writer/director/producer John Herzfeld (last seen ripping off Quentin Tarantino with Two Days in the Valley).
Herzfeld's biggest mistake lies in trying to do too much. He
attempts to juggle two love stories (neither of which is remotely effective), a buddy cop formula, a detective thriller and a social drama. Ambitious, but it all comes crashing down into a sea of predictability and plot contrivances.
Herzfeld also makes bad choices in music, mixing violin solos, rap and David Gray, and cinematography, with elegant New York scenery thrown together with the jumpy and distorted images representing the killer's point of view.
The acting is, for the most part, adequate (with the exception of Kelsey Grammer's profane tabloid TV reporter, who comes off like Frasier with Tourette's Syndrome). De Niro has his moments, but he's basically on cruise control through his surprisingly small part.
Edward Burns is the real star, and carries the film as far as he can. His ultra-serious characterization is a nice departure, lacking the sardonic deadpan all his past characters have possessed.
15 Minutes would like to be topical and relevant, but it's neither.
Martin Scorsese's The King of Comedy explored America's obsession with fame in 1982, Sidney Lumet's Network was the definitive film on the evil's of television in 1976 and Norman Jewison's ...And Justice for All poked holes in our legal system in 1979.
These issues are as dated as the story is insulting, depicting all people as mindless robots who follow dumbstruck the lead of the all mighty media.Intelligent people don't believe everything they see on TV or read in a newspaper. Intelligent people don't form their opinions of the world based on tabloid news and talk shows. Intelligent people won't like this movie.
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originally posted: 03/30/01 15:11:52