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15 Minutes (2001)
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Review Date: February 01, 2001
Director: John Herzfeld
Writer: John Herzfeld
Producers: John Herzfeld, David Blocker
Actors:
Robert DeNiro as Eddie Fleming
Edward Burns as Jordy Warsaw
Kelsey Grammer
Plot:
A media-savvy cop joins a young arson investigator on a case featuring two nasty Eastern European immigrants searching for their fifteen minutes of fame.
Critique:
A very original and timely movie which connects on various levels. Now I know that I've said this before but here's yet another great performance by Robert DeNiro, charismatic, funny and as intelligent as ever, an interesting script which takes the "hot" elements of the day and turns them into a digestible story and even a little bit of action and humor. In fact, I probably wouldn't know how to qualify this movie exactly, but one thing that I can say about it is that it'll definitely have you talking. It'll have you talking about its meaning, its truth, its fiction, its message, its reality...pretty much everything that the film tries to address. Unless of course, you think the movie sucks, in which case, I doubt you'll care to look over any of it... :)

You see, this film is basically about busting the balls of all the "good folks" in the media who cannot seem to look past their ratings to ask themselves if what they're doing is right. Is what they are doing the right thing to do? Should they be setting couples up on an island filled with pretty single people just to see if anything will happen? Should they be showing live child-births on TV? (for journalistic purposes, of course) And ultimately, what are we gonna do once things start getting really out of hand? What are we gonna say to live executions on the air, a hostage negotiations gone awry or maybe even the telecast of an actual murder. Is that newsworthy? Perhaps...but does that mean that we need to show it on TV? Has the media lost all sense of decency, morality and self-control? Well, I won't bore you too much with my own opinion regarding all of this stuff, other than to say that I am very much against the sacks of human garbage who continue to propagate this type of sensationalistic so-called "journalism", but that's another story and column altogether.

This movie softly touches on all of these questions and concerns, and does so in a very convincing and entertaining manner. It reveals all of the hypocrisies by which most of these people live, and also exposes the manipulative ways by which many of them achieve their goals. Sure, there are a few weak spots in the script, with the impulsive "bad guys" always seeming to be one step ahead of their "good guy" counterparts, despite their obvious nonchalance, and a certain amount of farfetchedness in their ultimate goal, but overall, I bought most of it with a mighty big spoon. Another great thing about this movie was its element of surprise. There I was sitting in a theatre and literally not knowing what would happen next. Quite the unusual position to be in, let me tell you. It was refreshing to watch a movie in which originality actually replaced cliches and the characters helped guide you through their world of real emotions. What else can I say about this movie? It's basically got a lot of different elements working within it and most of them worked for me. There are touches of humor, some cool action scenes, a genuine sense of unpredictability, a little romance, an undeniable message and many questions left to be discussed. In fact, how many movies can you name that are actually able to entertain and make you think and engage in conversation at the same time? Not many, eh? Well, for me this movie was one of this year's early nice surprises. You go, Bobby!!
(c) 2017 Berge Garabedian
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