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15 MinutesUSA 2001
Directed by John Herzfeld
Running time 120 minutes
If you're looking for some mid-brow testosterone-driven megaplex-style diversion you'll be well-satisfied by this serving of cinematic machismo. As long as senseless killing doesn't offend you, that is.
Although you've seen every frame and heard every word many times before, writer-director Herzfeld delivers on energy and production values with a film clearly intended to be smart and stylish. The core problem is that whilst attempting to go beyond being just another action thriller, the issue it takes on, broadly speaking, contemporary Western (American) consumer culture (epitomised by the Warholian reference in the film's title) is handled very heavily. Plot, dialogue and locations are used mercilessly to re-iterate ideas about representation and reality and the role of film and television in the decline and further decline of the Western civilization.
Film students can also log this one for discussion of films which exploit the very same things they purport to critique. Unlike a film which tackles similar issues, Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers (1994), the exploitation is blatant here. Women in particular fare badly, all being portrayed as sexually-alluring victims to a greater or lesser degree. De Niro (who in his later years is starting to look like Bob Hawke) does his tough guy schtick effortlessly and his presence lends a good deal of much-needed gravitas to the project. The plot tends to be overlong, including a sub-plot involving a photogenic illegal immigrant who is more annoying than anything else.