'15 Minutes' teams De
in action-packed media
Starring Robert De Niro, Edward Burns
New Line Cinema
By Michelle Norton
Daily Cougar Staff
For those of you who have picked up a remote
control recently, you probably have noticed the onslaught of afternoon
talk shows that feature a man pretending to be a woman, a man sleeping
with his brother's wife or a grandmother galloping around town in her skimpy
Despite the fact that many of these shows
serve no purpose and waste what would otherwise be perfectly good airtime
for say, news, people still watch them.
Why is that?
In the new high-speed thriller, 15 Minutes,
director John Herzfeld attempts to answer that question as he takes a startling
look at the important role television plays in America and the lengths
that people will go to become part of it.
Set smack dab in the middle of America's
media hub, New York City, Herzfeld takes viewers on a non-stop thrill-ride
through its crime-ridden streets, dingy apartment buildings and dangerous
Phillip V. Caruso/New Line
Melina Kanakaredes co-stars
as Robert De Niro's love interest in the action thiller, 15 Minutes.
Known for his work on the film Don King:
Only in America and the television show Tales from the Crypt,
Herzfeld uses in-your-face action sequences and stomach turning camera
movements to simulate the fast-paced life of a celebrity.
Viewers are first introduced to two fame-seekers
when they are taken into an airport and see two out-of-place men waiting
in line. The first man, Emil Slovak, played by Karel Roden, is giddy as
a schoolboy as he takes pictures of random women. The other, Oleg Razgul,
played by Oleg Taktarov, is straight-faced as he tries to restrain his
friend from calling attention to them.
From the moment we first meet them, we
know trouble is just around the corner. Their short tempers and irrational
reactions to questions from an airport employee make them time-bombs ready
Case in point. While they make their way
to collect some money from a former partner in a heist, Slovak stops to
steal a camera because he wants to make a movie. And that's when the search
for money and fame begins.
Next on the scene is Eddie Flemming, played
by two-time Academy Award winner Robert De Niro, who is a New York homicide
detective and local celebrity.
Flemming has been featured in People Magazine
and is well known for his work on high-profile homicides. De Niro easily
fills the role of a New York cop with sarcastic quips and split-second
comedic timing. Flemming is definitely a man's man. We first meet him as
he immerses his head into a sink of ice water to cure a hangover.
Flemming is called in to work an apartment
fire where two bodies were found. Arson investigator Jordy Warsaw, played
by Saving Private Ryan's Ed Burns, who has jurisdiction over the
fire, meets Flemming with some resistance.
Warsaw, unlike Flemming, does not understand
the duality of media's power, but learns it quickly after he discovers
the fire was more than just an accident and finds himself teaming up with
Flemming. Together they discover that murder and fame can turn out to be
a deadly combination.
15 Minutes also stars Kelsey Grammer
of Frasier, who portrays tabloid news anchor Robert Hawkins, a man
who stops at nothing in the ratings war.
Depicting the more serious side of television
is Melina Kanakaredes, who stars as Nicolette, a television reporter and
Flemming's love interest. Kanakaredes is well known for her portrayal of
Dr. Sydney Hansen, on the NBC drama Providence.
With a star-studded cast and dramatic social
commentary, 15 Minutes keeps you guessing from one scene to the
next. While many people in America may feel that the judicial system is
impenetrable, this movie proves them wrong.
As a social commentary of the times, 15
Minutes provides an eye-opening look at how two foreigners can watch
five minutes of an afternoon American talk show and learn how to get away
with murder -- literally.