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It may be true that everyone during their lifetime has fifteen minutes of
fame, even if in most cases it only lasts about a minute and a half. And if
that minute and a half comes early in life, how far into adulthood can you
carry it with you, and when does a healthy memory become an obsession that
finally blurs the line between reality and fantasy? `The Fan,' directed by
Tony Scott and starring Robert De Niro and Wesley Snipes, is an intense and
disturbing motion picture that examines that moment and the effects it can
have on the lives of those either directly or indirectly involved. Here,
the focus is on one Gil Renard (De Niro), a knife salesman in San Francisco
and a die-hard Giants fan who is pumped about the acquisition during the
off-season of superstar centerfielder Bobby Rayburn (Snipes), whom he
believes will bring a pennant to the team. Once a player himself-- a
pitcher-- Renard's life has since been on a downhill slide. Divorced, he
has a young, little league aged son, Richie (Andrew J. Ferchland), with whom
he has an unsettling relationship, and at work, his sales have been so poor
his job is on the line. An angry, disturbed individual, Renard has reached
a pivotal point in his life; for inspiration, he continually returns to the
philosophies of the catcher from his playing days, Coop (Charles Hallahan),
whom he considers one of the finest athletes he ever knew. And as his life
continues to deteriorate, his obsessions begin to add further to the
imbalance of his perceptions of reality, which finally lead him past a point
of no return.
Scott's film, of course, has less to do with baseball than it does with how the game itself actually relates to life and the things that really matter. As Rayburn says at one point, `We're not curing cancer here.' But to those to whom life has been reduced to that minute and a half to which they still cling, the game can be everything. And it is just that unhealthy obsession that Scott examines in this film, that comparatively insignificant moment that in the obsessive mind becomes an episode of monumental importance that finally distorts any semblance of reality the individual may have left. What's truly frightening is that upon close scrutiny, in Renard there is much with which many viewers will be able to relate in one way or another: The anger, the frustration and perhaps the inability to let go of that minute and a half, even when it threatens to become more than just a pleasant memory, but an unhealthy lifeline to another place and another time that, in reality, may never have existed in the first place. It's like a search for self-esteem by the has-been-who-never-was, who can neither realize nor accept it's elusiveness. As Renard says to Richie, `Baseball is better than life, because it's fair. You hit a sacrifice fly and it doesn't count against your average.' An ideal that has forever eluded Renard; in his life, he's never been able to `give himself up for the team' and get anything in return for it.
As Renard, De Niro gives an explosive performance that at first glance may seem to have a bit of Travis Bickle and Max Cady in it-- which in fact it does-- though upon closer inspection, Renard is a unique character. Those with a disturbed mind may have traits in common, as these characters De Niro has portrayed certainly do; but De Niro has successfully given each of them an individual personality, and when viewed side by side, the differences are readily apparent. Bickle may be a sociopath, Cady a cold blooded killer; but Renard is a man who was just never able to get a handle on his life and has allowed his obsessions to dictate the choices he has made along the way. De Niro is simply a master of his craft, with the ability to make his characters so real that a performance like this one is often overlooked; this is Oscar worthy work for which he never received the acclaim he was due. His Renard is so like someone you would run into in your everyday life that in retrospect, it's scary. But it's the kind of performance we've come to expect from De Niro, and as usual, he does not disappoint.
Wesley Snipes, as well, gives a solid performance as Rayburn that is one of his best ever, which is not surprising when you consider with whom he was working. If you study De Niro's films, you may discover a common thread running through them with regard to his co-stars. De Niro has the ability to make those with whom he is working better; and it's something that stays with them forever after. Consider Christopher Walken and Meryl Streep before `The Deer Hunter,' or Ed Harris before `Jacknife.' Certainly they were exceptional talents before, but they have arguably been better since. And Snipes is no exception. Nor is Benicio Del Toro (Recipient of the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for `Traffic'), who gives a memorable turn here as Rayburn's rival outfielder, Juan Primo.
The supporting cast includes Patti D'Arbanville (Ellen),Ellen Barkin (Jewel), John Leguizamo (Manny), Chris Mulkey (Tim), Dan Butler (Garrity) and Brandon Hammond (Sean). A thought provoking thriller that gives some real insight into the cause and effect of the psyche of human nature, `The Fan' is like an open wound that may hit too close to home for some. And to dismiss this as just a `baseball' movie or another `action' flick would be a mistake, for there is much more here than meets the eye. In the end, those who pay attention will ultimately reap the rewards it proffers. I rate this one 9/10.
This movie wasn't as bad as everyone says. I think it's safe to say that I
am a fan of Robert De Niro, and that will certainly help if you like Robert
De Niro to enjoy this movie. But I didn't enjoy this movie solely on the
fact that I like De Niro, I thought Snipes gave an equally choice
performance. The thrills in this movie were small, but they were satisfying.
The ending is, without a doubt, the best part. There were other good thrills
though, like the freezer scene.
I must say that I liked this movie a good deal. Its is not without its flaws, but in order to enjoy this movie, and a lot of other movies for that matter, you must look past the flaws, and just take it for what it is. Enjoy this movie for its handful of thrills, decent acting, and great music (I am a big fan of the Rolling Stones also). This is a good no-brainer with a creepy overtone, so just watch it for its pros, not its cons. 8/10
A flawed movie, but worth seeing for De Niro's performance as Gil Renard,
an increasingly crazed fan/stalker. Also, yet again, baseball shows itself
as the sport most able to provide striking visual metaphors for the ups and
downs of life (though, as a Brit, I've noted some of the specific criticisms
aimed at the baseball sequences in this movie by IMDb commenters from the
Where the movie, via the genius of De Niro, certainly succeeds is in convincingly demonstrating how easily and quickly obsessive devotion can turn to obsessive hatred, when the object of that devotion fails to meet the assumptions of the extreme fan. Certainly, there's some of Max Cady, the Cape Fear psychotic, in his portrayal; but there's also a lot of Rupert Pupkin, the confused kidnapper and would-be comic from King of Comedy - both films, of course, directed by Martin Scorsese.
Where the film fails is in being too repetitive and, consequently, a bit too long; one or two of the scenes where Gil is trying to sell his knives are superfluous; and, when Gil is at the game with his son, why does the camera have to keep cutting to the woman in the crowd - once or twice would have been sufficient. Several of the scenes also seem derivative, especially those involving Dan Butler, as Garitty the sales manager, which echo Glengarry Glen Ross. A major unconvincing aspect is that surely a $40m signing, like Bobby Raybourn (Wesley Snipes), would be surrounded by a lot more razzmatazz than simply one not-too-effective agent (John Leguizamo).
But, on the whole, one to rent or watch on TV (as I've just done) if nothing more compelling is available.
Although The Fan has a baseball setting with the late Candlestick Park
in San Francisco, it's not a baseball story. It's the dual story of a
fan obsessed with baseball and his favorite player and that same player
and his performance anxiety living up to the huge amount of money the
Giants are paying him.
The title role is played by Robert DeNiro and a lot of his character is taken from what Michael Douglas had earlier did in Falling Down. DeNiro is the son of the founder of the company he works for, but dad having passed away long ago, the company is in different hands. DeNiro is not cutting it as a salesman of hunting knives (no pun intended) and he's having problems with his former wife Patty D'Arbanville-Quinn over visitation with his son.
At the same time multi-million dollar acquisition Wesley Snipes is having problems living up to the hype and he's looking like a big old bust. Especially next to new Giant sensation Benicio DelToro who is carrying the team with what looks like a Most Valuable Player season. Snipes is only doing well on one front, his relationship with his young son.
As his life falls apart DeNiro starts fixating on his favorite player and what he can do to help motivate him. After that this film gets truly bizarre.
But DeNiro who probably has more disturbed characters under his creative belt than any other actor around today keeps it all real. He's matched by Wesley Snipes who plays a Barry Bonds like superstar who gets a good life lesson by the end of the film.
In fact Snipes realizes it before the film ends. As he quite realistically says, it's just a game, it's not like we're out there discovering a cure for cancer. The problem is that there are too many out there, fans like DeNiro in sports and in show business who get way too caught up in it.
Look also for nice performances by Ellen Barkin who has a sports phone-in show and John Leguizamo as Snipes's agent and the wisest guy he has around him.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Fan is the polar opposite of Field of Dreams and I loved it.
Baseball movies have no spine to them whatsoever, they tend to all ways
follow the same Pride of the Yankees formula where Baseball is a
fraternal sport in which everything is okay. The Fan digs deeper.
Robert DeNiro plays Gil Bernard an odd knife salesman who loses the visitation rights to be with his son. Bernard vents his rage by following his San Francisco Giants religiously. Gil becomes obsessed with Bobby Rayburn, the Giants' new top paid center fielder. Rayburn believes in jinxes and wants his lucky jersey number back to end a slump. Gil gets it for him by killing his teammate. Gil confronts Rayburn who says his change of luck was due to his not caring anymore. Gil goes berserk and threatens to kill Rayburn's son if he doesn't due a Babe Ruth and hit a homer for him.
DeNiro represents the Fan who turns to MLB as an escape from real life. His Gil is a tragic character who only lives for the game and focuses on what he could have been and what he wants to force his son to become. We don't necessarily agree with him but we can better see what makes this villain tick.
Snipes Rayburn isn't a bad guy but he like the A-Rod's of day let's the fame get to his head. He undergoes a perspective change through the film as he questions what the game means to him.
The Fan is a great dark satire of baseball. We see all the aspects that are there but are so often ignored. The greed of the players and their agents, the sports writers eager to sink their teeth into the slumping hitter, and the fathers who try to pressure their children to live their athletic dreams through them.
My one complaint about the film is it's ending. It just seems far too over the top and unrealistic. Gil shouldn't have received that much attention at his death, it should have been a private confrontation between him and Rayburn.
The Fan is about a baseball player who becomes the unhealthy focus on a
salesman who is down on his luck. Seeing the rating, I became very
interested in seeing this movie. Now I have seen it, and I am glad that
I saw it. Why? I'll tell you why. In my honest to goodness point of
view, The Fan is a tense and exciting drama thriller that is a very
entertaining movie! Another thing that really wanted me to see this
movie is the fact that it stars Robert De Niro, who happens to be one
of my all time favorite actors. Now getting back to my review, this
movie was a very good movie, it was fun, exciting, intense, and at
certain times, very suspenseful. The Fan now has to be one of the most
underrated movies that I have ever seen, and one of the most underrated
Robert De Niro movies that I have ever seen, because I think that the
rating in the 5's is rather low for this good movie, a rating in the
6's would be more appropriate. But anyway, I am not letting the rating
affect my judgement, this movie is a very good movie, it is a very fun
As he is in a lot of the movies that I have seen him in, Robert De Niro is excellent. He plays Gil Renard, a salesmen who takes an unhealthy liking for a professional baseball player named Bobby Rayburn, played by Wesley Snipes. No matter what movie he is in, and no matter what role he plays, Robert De Niro never fails to amuse me with his absolutely incredible acting skills. Even if the movie that he stars in isn't that good, he still manages to do an excellent job. I haven't seen a bad Robert De Niro movie yet, there are something that I like more than others, but I can't say that I have seen one that I absolutely hated. So all in all, Robert De Niro is one of the greatest actors who has ever lived. I send my congratulations to Robert De Niro for making yet another movie that I totally and completely enjoyed.
Well all in all, The Fan is a very underrated movie, no wait, it is a criminally underrated movie. You've got to see this movie if you haven't already, because you will probably enjoy it. While I do not think that this movie is a masterpiece of a movie, I nevertheless find it to be a very entertaining and delightful experience! Even if you don't necessarily care for the movie, you probably will like Robert De Niro's performance. Well all in all, this movie is a very entertaining delight, watch it if you haven't seen it already, you will most likely end up really enjoying it! I love Robert De Niro, and I really enjoyed this movie, don't miss out on it.
While I agree with some of the previous comments about the lack of attention to detail and the confusing cinematography, I really did enjoy this movie. The story itself is not particularly original and the ending is weak -- but I thought the build-up of Gil's (De Niro) character to be quite effective. Although Gil was what one would typically label a loser, I couldn't help but feel for the guy. Many movies about psychos/stalkers fail to give you any insight into why he's doing all these bad things -- all you know is that he's not a nice guy. This movie did a great job of portraying how Gil's volatile personality, his obsession with the baseball and with Bobby (Snipes) in particular, and his loss of everything else that mattered to him, ultimately led him to do what he did.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Gil Renard's passion for baseball consumes him. In fact, the sport he
loves seems to get the best of him. His own marriage has failed
dismally; he is involved in an acrimonious divorce and his son seems to
have taken to the new man in his mother's life. Gil, who is a sporting
knives salesman, has problems with his clients to the point that his
boss has no other alternative than to get rid of him.
What is Gil supposed to do? When his idol, Bobby Rayburn is hired for the San Francisco Giants, as an outfielder, Gil feels his team will have a chance for the pennant. His obsession will get the best of him. He even tries to influence another player into switching uniform numbers with his new idol. When all that fails, Gil decides to take a different path and ends up stalking Rayburn with terrible consequences.
"The Fan", directed by Tony Scott starts on an upbeat note. The film based on a Peter Abrahams book we didn't read, with a screenplay by Phoef Sutton, plays well until it has Gil Renard going nuts when his whole world crumbles.
Robert Deniro, under Mr. Scott's direction, does what he can to the script that has him playing the deranged Gil in ways that doesn't help the film. It's fun to watch Mr. Deniro impersonating Gil Renard, whose passion for the American pastime ruins his life. We get a hint of how he got involved in the sport at the end of the movie. Wesley Snipes makes one of the best appearances of his career. In minor roles we see a wasted Ellen Barkin, Benicio del Toro and John Leguizamo, among others.
This is a film for Mr. Deniro's fans.
The film centres around Gil (De Niro), an obsessive baseball fan who
puts his beloved New York Giants and particularly their new star player
Bobby Rayburn (Snipes) above everything else in life. When Rayburn's
below par performances have fans and pundits calling for him to be
dropped however in favour of rival Juan Primo (Benicio Del Toro) , his
number one fan is determined to do whatever it takes to get him back on
De Niro shows just why he is one of the best actors around (despite his latest chequebook acting efforts) with this performance as the single minded, baseball obsessive Gill. The character is just as memorable as the menacing Max Cady in Cape Fear and its says something for De Niro who can go from playing psychotic scumbags to green comatose patient (Awakenings) with ease. Snipes puts in a solid performance as the luckless Baseball player with the burden of a huge transfer fee and season of glory resting on his shoulders along with Benicio del Toro as his cocky rival hitter but this is De Niro's film and he does the bad-guy-you-side-with down to a tee! Rent it out now!!!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a tense and gripping character study that never lets go, with a fantastic story and 2 amazing performances from Robert De Niro and Wesley Snipes!. All the characters are wonderful, and i thought it was extremely suspenseful, plus Robert De Niro and Wesley Snipes are simply amazing in this!. It's extremely underrated and why it only has a 5.4 rating is beyond me!, as it should be much much higher in my opinion!. The finale is incredibly tense, and the people who think Welsy Snipes cannot act, watch this movie!, plus the baseball sequences are awesome!. The scene where De Niro kidnaps Snipe's son Shawn is really quite disturbing, and i loved the mind games from De Niro!, plus The ending was great in my opinion. Snipes does a really cool Barry Bonds impression, and i actually found Snipe's character really likable!, plus the opening narration was pretty cool!. Another disturbing scene is when De Niro visits Del Toro(Juan Primo) in the steam room, and i found the character development to be awesome!, plus the story is gripping and engrossing all the way!. This is a tense and gripping character study that never lets go with a fantastic story and 2 amazing performances from De Niro and Snipes and i say Go see it now!. The Direction is fantastic!. Tony Scott does a fantastic job here with outstanding and stylish camera work, great angles,and lots of other cool shots, plus he kept the film at an engrossing pace!. The Acting is wonderful!. Robert De Niro is AMAZING as always, and is amazing here, he is extremely unpredictable, very creepy,, was always interesting and mysterious, gave me the chills at at certain times, and put a lot of fantastic effort in his role, and in my opinion this is one of his most underrated performances he was amazing!. (De Niro Rules!!!!). Wesley Snipes is also AMAZING as always, and is amazing here, he is extremely likable, very charismatic, was wonderful in his emotional scenes, did a fantastic Barry Bonds impression, gave one of his best performances, and just did an amazing job overall!, he is also a very good Baseball player! (Snipes Rules!!!). Ellen Barkin is excellent with what she had to do as the reporter, she was hot, had an interesting character and just did an excellent job!, i liked her lots. John Leguizamo is a riot and cracked me up throughout, if only he had more screen time!, i loved him. Benicio Del Toro was good as Juan Primo, and did what he had to do very well. Andrew J. Ferchland and Brandon Hammond are both quite decent actually as the kids, and were not annoying at all!, look out for John Kruk in a small role as a teammate. Rest of the cast do fine. Overall Go see it now!, it's so underrated!. ***** out of 5
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