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15 Minutes

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: 15 Minutes

Starring: Robert De Niro, Edward Burns
Director: John Herzfeld
Rated: R
RunTime: 120 Minutes
Release Date: March 2001
Genres: Action, Drama, Suspense

*Also starring: Kelsey Grammer, Avery Brooks, Karel Roden, Oleg Taktarov, Melina Kanakaredes, Vera Farmiga, John DiResta, James Handy, Charlize Theron

Review by Susan Granger
2½ stars out of 4

"In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes," said Andy Warhol, back in 1967, and this action thriller follows a celebrated New York Homicide Detective (Robert De Niro) who teams up with an idealistic, young Fire Dept. Arson Investigator (Edward Burns) to track down a pair of Eastern European killers (Karel Roden, Oleg Taktarov). "I love America! No one is responsible for what they do," marvels the cunning Czech, while the Russian obsessively records their crime spree on video tape. Using their media attention to attain fame, they capture the attention of a glib tabloid news anchor (Kelsey Grammer) and wind up as his lurid "Top Story."

While director/writer John Herzfeld ("2 Days in the Valley") "borrows" much of this concept from "Network," the plot has the subtlety of a sledgehammer. Cinematographer Jean Yves Escoffier creates edgy suspense, particularly during the graphic arson scenes. Wearing a black wig, Charlize Theron does a cameo as the madam at an escort service, Melina Kankaredes ("Providence") is a reporter, and Kim Cattrall ("Sex and the City") scores as a ruthless "If it bleeds, it leads" TV producer. Robert De Niro's role is so reminiscent of his previous performances that he seems to do it effortlessly, if superficially, while Edward Burns struggles to overcome the sheer blandness of the way his part is written. As the savvy sociopaths, Karel Roden and Oleg Taktarov steal the picture, leaving Kelsey Grammer as a slimy, one-dimensional villain. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "15 Minutes" is a gritty, satirical 6. If sensational fame is truly the American game, we're all losers.

Copyright 2001 Susan Granger

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