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The film begins as we see Emil and Oleg arriving in America. They were former criminals and after getting out of prison have come to the US to claim their part of a bank heist in Russia (or somewhere in Czechoslovakia)

Within minutes of arriving, Oleg steals a video camera. They go to the run down apartment of their old partner and demand their share. He doesn't have it so Emil stabs him and his wife to death as Oleg tapes it with his new camera. The neighbor girl witnesses it but she escapes before they can get her too. To hide the crime, Emil burns down the apartment.

Edward Burns is an Arson Investigator and is called to the case. Robert DeNiro is a much celebrated detective who is also called to the scene. DeNiro is such a high profile celebrity detective that he is even followed around by the local tabloid TV show "Top Story." Everywhere DeNiro goes, the townspeople cheer him on. He's quite a celebrity.

DeNiro and Burns decide to help each other out and work the case together. While checking out the crowd outside, Burns spots a girl (the neighbor) trying to get his attention. When he finally gets to where she was, she's gone.

Emil who also got the girl's wallet when she fled the apartment earlier calls an escort service from a business card he found in her wallet. He asks for a Czech girl hoping she will arrive. When a regular call girl arrives, he kills her but not before first getting the address of the escort service from her. Oleg tapes the entire murder. In fact, he tapes everything he can, trying to be the next Frank Capra.

DeNiro and Burns investigate her murder and also visit the escort service. Charlize Theron runs the service and tells them that the girl they're looking for doesn't work for her but rather a local hairdresser, and by the way, she just told the same thing to a couple other guys that were asking the same questions.

DeNiro and Burns rush to the hairdresser but get there just after Emil and Oleg warn the girl not to say anything to anyone. As DeNiro is putting the girl into his squad car, he notices Oleg taping them from across the street. A footchase begins culminating in DeNiro's regular partner getting shot and his wallet stolen.

Emil finds a card with DeNiro's name and address in it,

Emil is very jealous of DeNiro's celebrity status and is convinced that anyone in America can do whatever they want and get away with it.

On the night that DeNiro is to propose to his girlfriend (Melina Kanakaredes), Oleg and Emil sneak into his house and tape him to a chair. While Oleg is recording, Emil explains his plan to DeNiro. He will kill Deniro and sell the tape to "Top Story". After being committed to an insane asylum he will declare that he is actually sane. Since he can't be tried again he will get off, collecting the royalties from his books and movies.

DeNiro starts attacking them with his chair (while still taped to it) and almost gets them but Emil stabs and kills him.

The entire city is in mourning and Emil calls Kelsey Grammer (the host of "Top Story") to tell him he has a tape of the killing and is willing to sell it. Kelsey pays him a million dollars for the tape. Burns and the entire police force are pissed at Kelsey and can't believe he'd air it, especially since his main reporter is DeNiro's fiance. On the night it is aired Emil and Oleg sit in a Planet Hollywood to watch it with the rest of the public.

Halfway through the airing, the other spectators realize that Emil and Oleg are right there with them and a panic takes place. The police come in and arrest Emil while Oleg escapes. They put Emil in Burns' squad car but instead of taking him to the police station, Burns takes him to an abandoned warehouse where he is going to kill him. The police arrive just in time and take Emil away.

Everything goes as planned as Emil is now a celebrity and is pleading insanity. His lawyer agrees to work for 30% of the royalties Emil will receive for his story.

Meanwhile, Oleg is jealous of the notoriety that Emil is receiving.

While being led away with his lawyer and all the media, Burns gets into an argument with the lawyer while the "Top Story" crew is taping the whole thing. Oleg gives Kelsey the tape of Emil explaining his plan to DeNiro, proving he was sane the whole time. Kelsey shouts out to Emil and explains to him the evidence he now has. Emil pushes a policeman down, takes his gun and shoots Oleg. Emil grabs Deniro's fiancee who is covering the news story and threatens to shoot her. He is finally cornered by the police and Edward Burns. Against orders, Burns instead shoots Emil a dozen times in the chest.

An oficer shouts that Oleg is still alive. Kelsey rushes to him to get footage just as Oleg says the final few words to his movie he's taping just before he dies (with the statue of Liberty in the background).

Burns punches out Kelsey Grammer and leaves the scene as the police all smile with approval.

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Edward Burns
and Robert DeNiro
They team up to try to catch the killers
Melina Kanakaredes and Robert DeNiro:
He will be stabbed to death on the night he was to propose to her.
Kelsey Grammer
The sleezy tabloid TV host who pays $1 million for the tape of DeNiro's death
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