Never before in history have fame and the law been so closely, and so dangerously, aligned. With today's insatiable demand for high-octane television news, everyone from criminals and cops to lawyers and politicians has joined the ranks of attention-grabbing celebrities and hype generators. Murderers hire spin-doctors and share their confessions in prime time. Meanwhile, everyone from thieving low-lives to the President's lawyers vie for their shot at the limelight. Crime, tragedy, chaos: we might fear them, but there's no denying that in today's world, they bring ratings, money and power. So just how far wil society's most desperate people go in order to get their "fifteen minutes"? And just how willing is the public to watch?
The morbid thriller "15 Minutes" begins with a lurid series of crimes involving murder and arson. Investigating the crimes is Detective Eddie Flemming (Robert De Niro), who manages to have every one of his busts splashed with media spotlight. A particularly gruesome case of arson pulls Fire Marshal Jordy Warsaw (Edward Burns) into Flemming's orbit, though he's too decent and naïve to operate like Flemming. With the aid of the superb cinematographer Jean Yves Escoffier, the director John Herzfeld come up with a picture that has a crowd-stopping impact. "15 Minutes" is fleet-footed, merciless entertainment. But the mixture of laughs, bathos and brutality is a big turnoff. — Elvis Mitchell
2001-03-09 | Elvis Mitchell | Read the New York Times Review of 15 Minutes