Plot: What’s it about?
“15 Minutes” tells the story of two Europeans Emil (Karel Roden) and Oleg (Oleg Razgul) who come to America for the first time (New York City) to collect money from a partner they committed a robbery with. When the partner admits to spending the money, Emil kills him and his wife while Oleg captures the moment on a camcorder he stole earlier from an electronics store. The two men set the apartment on fire and make the murder look like an accident. However, there is a witness to this and she is discovered by the two and gets away. This leads to Police Detective Eddie Fleming ( Robert DeNiro) and Arson Investigator Jordy Warsaw (Edward Burns) arriving at the scene. Eddie is always on TV alot for his famous busts and enjoys being in the spotlite. He even lets tabloid reporter Robert Hawkins (Kelsey Grammer) go along on one of the busts. At first there is a little tension between Jordy and Eddie but they end up working together on the case to solve the murders. While this is going on Emil and Oleg are trying to find the witness but also come up with a plan to profit from their crimes by selling the footage to a tabloid show and pleading insanity. Will it work? Or will they be caught? Tune in to find out.
John Hertzfeld directed “15 Minutes” and he delivers an entertaining film that makes you think about tabloid shows and the question of what is too much? Are tabloid shows and the news going too far to get higher ratings? Can murders profit from their crimes? These and other questions came to my mind when viewing this film and are discussed in two of the featurettes. The first featurette, “15 Minutes of True Tabloid Stars” has interviews with talk show hosts Jerry Springer, Sally Jessy Raphael and Maury Povich. Also interviewed is Inside Edition host Deborah Norville, Current Affair producer Bert Kearns and Court TV reporter Michael Ayala. They discuss tabloid television’s role in society and when to draw the line and other questions. They also discuss this in relation to “15 Minutes” storyline so you might want to watch the featurettes after you have seen the movie.
“Does Crime Pay?” is the second featurette and has a roundtable disussion with LAPD Detective & author Mark Fuhrman, attorney Gloria Allred and three other guests. They all discuss the role of the media when reporting on crimes and how often do criminals really profit from their crimes? and who else makes out in terms of the book deals and television exposure? These and other questions are discussed during this 20-22 minute featurette. More on the other features in the extras section.
Robert DeNiro can be seen in “Heat,” “Taxi Driver,” “Casino,” “Goodfellas” and much more. Edward Burns can be seen in “Saving Private Ryan,” “She’s The One” and other films. Kelsey Grammer can be seen on the TV show “Fraiser.” There is also a cameo by Charlize Theron who appeared in “Three Days In The Valley” which was also directed by John Hertzfeld.
Video: How does it look?
This is presented in its widescreen 2.35:1 ratio and is enhanced for 16×9 televisions. The color levels look good and I couldn’t find any artifacts or grain. The picture looks very sharp and is top notch. Nothing to complain about here.
Audio: How does it sound?
The audio is a Dolby Digital 5.1 track and has a pretty good balance between the dialogue and the music/sound effects. There was good use of all speakers including the rear ones which had quite a bit of activity. The only problem I could find was that the dialogue track was a little low a couple of times but nothing major. Still this is a very good track.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Along with the two featurettes I mentioned, there is also a commentary track with director John Herzfeld. This is a very informative track as he talks about how he had police and arson investigators as technical advisors so they could be accurately portrayed on the screen. Herzfeld mentions that he used an actual cop and arson investigator in speaking parts because he felt it would look more natural than having an actor in those small parts. He also praises the cast and crew and and doesn’t seem to have a negative comment for anyone. There are six deleted scenes which run between 10-15 minutes total. You can listen to the scenes or hear the commentary by Herzfeld. There is Oleg’s Videos which consists of two of the murders both from the point of view of the camcorder that Oleg uses in the movie. I recomend watching this and the other features after you have seen the movie because they reveal some spoilers. There is also a music video for the group “The God Lives Underwater” who do a cover of “Fame” which is a David Bowe song. There is also the theatrical trailer and cast and crew biographies. You can activate a fact track mode which lists information about the movie, cast etc. at the bottom of the screen (like pop up video) when watching the entire movie. The final feature is the Infinifilm mode in which when activated a box will appear on screen at times while watching the movie and you can then access deleted scenes, rehearsals, interviews with talk show hosts (Springer, Sally Jesse, Deborah Norville, etc.) etc. Some of the interviews are just snippets from the featurettes but others can only be accessed in the Infinifilm mode. It is a neat feature because you can see where a deleted scene was originally suppose to appear in the movie. You can have the commentary track, facts track, and Infinifilm mode all on at the same time while you are watching the film. This is a really nice feature.
The performances from the cast where all good (DeNiro, Burns etc) and recommend giving this film a rental and for a price of $19.99 at Best Buy or Circuit City you get alot for your money.