15 Minutes (2001) from Tuna and Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

15 Minutes (2001) follows 2 Days in the Valley as the second film written and directed by John Herzfeld. 
 It is an action/thriller starring Robert DeNiro as a famous New York Homicide detective and Edward Burns as a fire marshal. The two team up to solve a double murder, where a fire was used to try to hide the murder. The killers are a Czech  and a Russian who have come to the US to recover some money. The Russian fancies himself a film maker, and buys a video camera. The Czech is nearly as crazy and cruel as the villain in 2 Days in the Valley, and has much more energy. 


Noelle Evans is shown in only a skimpy transparent pair of panties in a lengthy scene.

Additional footage from this scene is seen in the "Oleg's camera" footage on the DVD

The DVD also has a deleted scene in which Oleg is romping with two completely naked call girls, showing full frontals from both.

The killers come up with a brainstorm while watching sensationalist TV - kill a few people, video tape it, kill somebody famous, sell the tape to the media, then  hire a high priced lawyer, plead insanity, and get rich off the movie and book rights. Their original killings lead the famous detective to them, and killing him is the real media prize! They nearly get away with their scheme. The American obsession with violence and the news media's lack of ethics are the themes here, giving depth to what is a pretty good shoot-'em-up already. 

The lighting, art direction and photography have a much different look than 2 Days in the Valley, looking more like a European film. 

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen anamorphic 2.35:1. Good transfer.

  • full-length commentary

  • lots of features: six deleted scenes, rare rehearsal footage, and more footage from "Oleg's camera"

Scoop's notes:

Loved it! It works as a thriller; it works as social satire; and the two genres don't conflict with each other.

I think it is an excellent movie, working both as an entertainment flick and as social commentary. Tuna's grade indicates that it is a superior genre flick without crossover appeal. I think it is more than a good crime flick, with appeal to a broader audience.

  • It has a terrific set of main characters which are developed beautifully. De Niro and Edward Burns bring depth and humor to the roles of the investigators.
  • You have to love a movie that casts De Niro as a brilliant, likeable, incorruptable cop, then kills him off.
  • There is a great sub-text. One of the killers is motivated only as Tuna described above. The other one, however, gets sidetracked when he wants to be a real filmmaker, hoping to turn the tapes into great cinema verite! You see, while his friend might be a great businessman, he fancies himself a great artist. I won't spoil the ending for you, but his death scene is great!
  • It has an interesting skewed commentary on the public's and the news media's obsession with violence, wealth, and fame, in which even the most likeable characters are seeking the 15 minutes of fame that Andy Warhol promised them. It covers the same territory as Natural Born Killers, but more subtly and accurately. It uses satire and humor imbued into real, believable characters and situations, without resorting to lifeless grotesqueries and lunatic parody.

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: two and a half stars. Ebert 3/4, Berardinelli 3/4, BBC 2/5, Apollo 70.

  • Rotten Tomatoes summary. 33% positive overall, 42% from the top critics.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 6.4
  • With their dollars ... it was a failure in comparison to expectations. Made for $42 million, it grossed $24 million domestically. 
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C+ (Tuna) to B- (Scoopy)

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