15 Minutes

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
15 Minutes Movie Poster Image
Exceptionally violent, intense DeNiro thriller.
  • R
  • 2001
  • 120 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 17+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Thieves and murderers seek notoriety for their crimes.


Very graphic violence, including nude murder victim and torture.


Sexual references and situations, including prostitution.


Very strong language throughout.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Lots of drinking and smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the movie is exceptionally violent, with graphic murders, including the death of a character we care about. Interestingly, the most upsetting crime is broadcast to a television audience but not shown on-screen. The movie has strong language and sexual references, including prostitution. Characters drink, smoke, and steal.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byBanana wannna August 22, 2019

Very violent De niro thriller

Good movie contains violent,nudity,strong language.Best for very mature teens
Adult Written byJulie D January 16, 2018

A prostitute strips down to thong panties, exposing her breasts.

A prostitute strips down to thong panties, exposing her breasts. ** Nudity *
Kid, 11 years old April 27, 2011

no kids

this is a very bad movie the bad guys killed a nude girl very violent no kids! very much swearing too.

What's the story?

15 MINUTES -- the title a reference to Andy Warhol's statement that in the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes -- pits a cop who's been on the cover of People magazine against two killers from Eastern Europe who have figured out that in America "no one is responsible for what they do." Emil Slovak (Karel Roden) and Oleg Razgul (Oleg Takarov) arrive in the United States from Eastern Europe with two goals. Slovak, just out of prison, wants to get his share of some stolen money. Razgul wants to find the America of the movies, especially the movies of his favorite director, Frank Capra. When they catch up with their old friend, it turns out the money is gone. Slovak kills the friend and his wife, while Razgul films it all with a stolen video camera. They set the apartment on fire, but a witness escapes. Robert De Niro plays Eddie Flemming, a detective who appears frequently on a Hard Copy-style tabloid TV news program hosted by Robert Hawkins (Kelsey Grammer). He is in love with another TV reporter who covers crime in New York (Providence's Melina Kanakaredes). The uneasiness of their relationship stems in part from the tension between journalist and source and in part from his shyness in trying to propose to her -- in Greek. Flemming teams up with a young fire inspector named Jordy Warsaw (Edward Burns) when a fire turns out to be arson intended to disguise the two brutal murders. Warsaw's commanding officer urges him to grab a little of Flemming's spotlight: "The better you look, the more money I get to pay you guys overtime." But Flemming warns that "this stuff hurts as much as it helps -- probably makes them nervous downtown." It does help. An elegant madam (Charlize Theron in an unbilled appearance) turns from wary to warm when the now-famous Flemming comes by to talk to her, even gushing "what an honor!" But Flemming's visibility makes him a target for two killers who want to get on television. Slovak is mesmerized by American talk shows, looking up "self-esteem" in his Czech dictionary. He concludes that if they can get their crimes on television and explain that it was all because of their abuse as children, "not only will Americans believe me, they will cry for me." Slovak and Razgul sell footage of one of their most shocking crimes to Hawkins, who piously insists that it is his obligation as a journalist to broadcast it.

Is it any good?

Top-notch performances from all -- especially Roden and Takarov in their first American roles -- as well as some powerful cinematography and editing, give this film a lot of energy. And it does make some clever points about the way we see fame and responsibility.

There's an inherent hypocrisy in any satire about our fascination with violence. Invariably, it tries for the best of both worlds, giving us a lot of violence and allowing us to assume moral superiority through ironic distance. Like the tabloid TV show it features, 15 Minutes gets to decry the depiction of violence by showing us examples of what it decries.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how we determine who's responsible for violence and whether our society creates perverse incentives for those seeking their 15 minutes of fame.

  • Talk about what it's like to be famous. What are the positives? The negatives?

Movie details

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