15 minutes is a German – American thriller movie produced in 2001, it revolves around a homicide detective and Burns, a fire marshal. In the film, the two have joined forces with an aim of apprehending some two Eastern European killers known as Karel Roden and Oleg Taktarov who made it their business to videotape their crimes with an intention of becoming rich and known. The film title has however been derived from the quotation by Andy Warhol, “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” Emil and Oleg love to kill and they need the world witness their gruesome acts, the two arrive in the United States and Oleg steals a video recorder from an electronics shop and consequently wastes no time in trying its efficiency, at the Rundown apartment, Emil seriously stabs a man whom they refer to as old partner for refusing to give them their own share and Oleg records this on tape, they ultimately burn down the apartment in an attempt to hide their crime. Warhol, A. (2017).
They claim that their heinous acts are driven by the desire to become rich and famous; however this is not the truth, the pair is seen to find a lot of pleasure in carrying out the crime. Emil loves to burn down things so after they carry out a murder, he makes sure to burn down everything while trying to hide evidence, this, therefore, turns 15 minutes into a homage to both backdraft and natural-born killers. After the pair has killed a police officer, they successfully source the services of a tabloid news anchor Robert Hawkins to have their video in exchange for a hefty sum of money. Emil has claimed that he does all the heinous acts as part of his strategy to become famous just like Frank Capra.
Setting foot at JKF, the pair steps up to the customs desk, Oleg introduces himself as Frank Copra, a popular movie star, Oleg is movie-mad and dreams of becoming a star one day. The pair has arrived in New York to finalize an old criminal deal; Oleg using the stolen camera films everything on their way as they head to meet an old accomplice who as it turns out spent the money and consequently has nothing to offer them. Emil murders the man and his girlfriend while Oleg rolls tape and narrates the action. When the pair discerns a possible witness, they set out in search of her, the camera behind and in action. It’s at this point that NYPD’s finest; Detective and media superstar Eddie Flemming enters the fray, along with Burns, an intuitive NYFD homicide investigator.
These two smell a rat and embark on the sort of interdepartmental brinkmanship that Oleg would doubtless recognize from countless previous Hollywood incarnations. At some point, with Flemming and Warsaw hot on their trail, Emil decides that he will allow himself to be caught, declared insane, and then, once Bellevue-bound, renege on the insanity plea, thereby gaining his freedom on the basis of the nation’s double jeopardy protection. It’s a sly gambit and one that is only made the more distasteful by the presence of veteran news weasel Robert Hawkins, whose tabloid television program Top Story is exactly the sort of exercise in gambogian journalism that Emil requires to make his plan pay off.
Through crime, Emil has a dream of becoming famous Oleg is hoping to become famous just like Frank Capra through crime and violence. Oleg finds a lot of fun taking the videos of Emil’s gruesome acts, at first, he does this as fun however he, later on, begins to do this as a strategy scheme. John Herzfeld has based his ideas on the notion that Emil and Oleg are moral idiots whose future had been influenced by overexposure to the American Television shows and move back in their homelands. Considering the oversaturation of the American content back in their home countries, these mostly involved mostly brutal and unrealistic scenes. Due to the impact of these series, Emil and Oleg now in America slash, shoot and burn their way through Manhattan attacking everyone including former associates, girls, and even bystanders. This kind of violence though quite disconcerting has taken a violent tone to highlight menace to the society, this movie is about perception and it is based on the idea that most people will do anything to get what they want. Visibility and money, Emil says not only will Americans believe but rather they would cry for him too. Van de Rijt, (2013)
Positive sociological perspectives from the film
Although the film has used several violent scenes, it has however shown clearly the lengths in which people are willing to go in the modern world just trying to gain notoriety and fame, Emil and Oleg are willing to do anything including the killing of police officers with an intention of becoming popular. The director John Herzfeld queries the level in which people are ready to go in order to achieve fame in this media-saturated world taking into consideration the fact that Oleg and Emil constantly used the media to have their heinous acts aired across the millions of small screens in the united states. Herzfeld, however, did not presuppose that the levels would get to that level as depicted in the film he had directed but was only concerned about portraying the effect the media might have in enhancing criminal acts
Nudity and sexual content
Though a negative sociological aspect, nudity, and sex have been brought clearly in the movie plot throughout the different scenes. The film shows an almost nude prostitute kneeling in front of Emil only baring her breasts while he, Emil is seen unzipping his pants subsequently attacking her by beating, stabbing and consequently killing her. The pair after brutally murdering some other two people, ensure to place their bodies in a sexual position before burning the bodies. From the tapes and photos they captured features a lingerie-clad woman who had been murdered, Oleg had initially focused his camera on the woman’s cleavage.
The video plot has explicitly shown various violent scenes. Scenes of fire have provided some of the tense moments throughout the movie plot. Burns, a fire marshal and an eye witness to murder are seen fighting for their dear lives while trying to find their way out of a booby-trapped apartment. Such scenes have been used to depict how tame 15 minutes can get. Emil and Oleg leave several bodies dead just two days after getting into America, it is noted without a doubt that the pair is ready for violent acts. Emil has chosen the knife to be his companion while carrying violent acts, he stabs without remorse severally while his counterpart Oleg, full of joy with his camera ready overlooks greedily looks on eagerly waiting to film the large quantities of blood pooling around them. Emil murder of the prostitute is attributed to stark realism full of color and the surrealism of a solarized video effect that Oleg finds on this stolen camera.
The film has blatantly shown a woman’s neck being broken, faces being struck by everything from drinking glasses to gun barrels. On numerous occasions, gunfire is exchanged resulting in both and injuries and even deaths. The film shows one frightful moment with a steady flow of bullets riddling through a man’s convulsing and bloody body. Other dreadful acts of violence are seen from the recorded tapes on Oleg’s camera. The playwright had used a series of violent themes to show the impact TV shows can have on one’s sociological development. Emil and Oleg have attributed their violent actions to the experiences they had during their childhood which involved getting oversaturated in Television show thus affecting their lives negatively. It is important to note that the more a person is exposed to violent content, the more likely the person is to develop negative aspects such as aggression among others.
Use of profane or abusive language
The film has witnessed the use of crude language in most occasions, in most scenes, the Fxx word has been constantly used in more than 50 occasions, the Sxx word has well been substantially used in almost 20 occasions. Throughout the movie, the name of the Lord has constantly been abused.
Drug use and alcohol content
The movie has shown police officer Eddie Flemming as an alcoholic, he has a great affinity to alcohol and drinks even while he is on duty however his addiction to alcohol is associated as a side effect of stress occupation. Roberts Hawkins and his staff have always joked about Eddie’s drunken nature and habit. Eddie is seen dipping his face into ice water trying to get himself sober, he is seen doing this repeatedly when about to go on the TV appearance.
Throughout the plot, Emil and Oleg are seen drinking on most occasions and at the time of broadcast of their tape, they are seen celebrating with champagne. The pair are seen in some scenes smoking cigarettes and cigars too. This is a powerful film which has presented the world with an opportunity to witness issues concerning drug abuse and the immoral reactions of those around you
15 minutes thriller has tried highlighting the negative social issues including crime, drug and alcohol abuse; however, the whole story has been issued out through really violent scenes. The film has tried to show the nexus between media, crime, and society. Despite using the traditional cop and killer format obtained from Andy Warhol’s prediction of how everyone longs to be famous in the future, it is still a controversial film. The director John Herzfeld is only concerned about the leads of TV culture at the intertwined lusts and need for fame that unfortunately rule the modern-day society where fame and publicity are more important than reality, anyone can play a victim and the resulting effect is for sale.
Herzfeld has successfully used the 15 minutes film to show societal issues by taking the strands of crime melodrama and twisting them to fit this specific purpose. The movie has indicated how publicity and image can work together to ensure the criminal justice system is achieved. Edward Burns had initially put off Flemming due to difference in ideologies, however, he learns that image and publicity for the efficient operation of the criminal justice. The movie, on the other hand, can be seen as having indulged into too much violence and the satire around the movie is considered to be too heavy to be effective
Never before in history have fame and the law been so close, and so dangerously, aligned Crime, tragedy, chaos: have been considered the order of the day, but the fact cannot be denied that in today’s world, they brought ratings, money, and power. Considering how far will society’s most desperate people go in order to get their ‘fifteen minutes ‘of fame?. In one blood-splattering scene after another,” Herzfeld writes, “15 Minutes becomes exactly what it is attempting to mock or satirize—a senseless stream of violent images that eventually numb the viewer.” Ferocious cruelty and senseless violence have become a mainstay for Hollywood. In 1994, Natural Born Killers shocked the world with its brainless brutality. Now it wouldn’t even start a buzz. Then, it was on the cutting edge. Now, it would merely be one of many. Hannibal. 3,000 Miles to Graceland. Snatch. 15 Minutes. That’s enough to make you scream. Or weep.
None of this would be worthy of so much ink if violence wasn’t so very real in our culture. Pointless acts of aggression and rage play out on street corners just like they do in movie theaters. That’s why I silently grieve every time I sit in a darkened theater watching the credits slowly scroll by at the end of yet another violent film. Each one the latest, greatest Hollywood creation glorifying, exalting and wallowing in the dregs of inhumanity.
“15 Minutes (2001)”. British Film Institute. Retrieved December 30, 2016.
“15 MINUTES (2001): A Finding Aid to the Collection in the Library of Congress”. Washington, DC: Library of Congress Manuscript Division. Retrieved October 27, 2015. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
“15 Minutes Reviews”. Metacritic. Retrieved June 12, 2016
Van de Rijt, A., Shor, E., Ward, C., & Skiena, S. (2013). Only 15 minutes? The social stratification of fame in printed media. American Sociological Review, 78(2), 266-289.
Violet, U. (2015). Famous for 15 Minutes: My Years with Andy Warhol. Open Road Media.
Warhol, A. (2017). 15 minutes: from image to icon.
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