The Fan (1996)

Genres - Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Thriller, Sports Drama  |   Release Date - Aug 6, 1996 (USA)  |   Run Time - 116 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Tony Scott's thriller has the kernel of an idea for a satire of the sports-addicted, but it's drowned out by the bombast of this crude, empty exercise in the psycho/slasher genre. Robert DeNiro plays an obsessive baseball fan whose life is coming apart at the seams. After the star (Wesley Snipes) of his favorite team receives a 40-million-dollar contract, the fan's intense interest in the star starts to become dangerous. Every day, thousands of sports junkies flood the phone lines of sports call-in shows, a format whose success feeds on the perennial ire of the callers toward "overpaid athletes." It seems that a satire of this fixation was the filmmakers' original intent, but there's precious little wit or intelligence in this utterly predictable script. The presence of DeNiro, who plays the deranged man with more far more subtlety than the dialogue implies, reminds one of how much better a similar film of his, King of Comedy (1982), addressed the same issues. Snipes is also excellent as the ball player whose initial lack of suspicion wanes as he becomes aware of his fan's true nature. Tony Scott's direction is as loud and obtrusive as always, sledgehammering home any plot point he fears the audience may have missed.