The Fan (1996 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Tony Scott|
|Produced by||Wendy Finerman|
|Screenplay by||Phoef Sutton|
|Based on||The Fan by
|Starring||Robert De Niro
Benicio del Toro
|Music by||Hans Zimmer|
|Edited by||Claire Simpson
Scott Free Productions
|Distributed by||TriStar Pictures|
|August 16, 1996 (USA)|
The Fan is a 1996 American thriller film directed by Tony Scott, and starring Robert De Niro and Wesley Snipes. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Peter Abrahams. The Fan is a psychological thriller that revolves around the sport of baseball, exploring the overt dedication of some of its followers.
Gil "Curly" Renard (Robert De Niro), a knife salesman, is a temperamental divorcé who has been neglecting both his young son and his job, which he is on the verge of losing due to poor sales. Gil has a fervent loyalty to his favorite sport, baseball, and his favorite team, the San Francisco Giants. Gil is obsessed with the Giants' newest player, Bobby Rayburn (Wesley Snipes), who has recently been acquired from the Atlanta Braves. He risks his job by attending the opening game of the season while he should be meeting a client. In an attempt to bond with his son, Gil takes him to the game, but leaves him there to attend his sales meeting.
The extensively hyped Rayburn suffers a chest injury, causing his performance to decline. Fans criticize his inability to live up to their expectations. The frustrated Gil, who has finally been fired, begins to aggressively show his support, showing his anger to fans who boo Rayburn. Gil's ex-wife, Ellen (Patti D'Arbanville), is disgusted by his irresponsibility and tries to keep him from seeing their son. Gil is issued a restraining order. With his job and family lost, Gil angrily confronts his former boss and vandalizes his car with a knife, leaving it in the hood. Gil once again turns to baseball, the only thing he seems to have left.
Gil witnesses Rayburn fighting with teammate Juan Primo (Benicio del Toro) in the restroom of a bar, and blames Primo for his favorite player's slump. Gil confronts Primo in a hotel sauna and, provoked by Primo's dismissive attitude, stabs him to death. Rayburn is subsequently suspected of murdering Primo. Despite feeling guilty for his teammate's death, Rayburn starts playing well again and ends his slump. Gil, convinced that what he did was a service to Rayburn and the Giants, becomes even more personal with his fanaticism, especially when Rayburn doesn't thank his fans for supporting him. He goes to Rayburn's beach house and unexpectedly helps save the player's son from drowning.
After pretending to have only a passing interest in the sport, Gil persuades Rayburn to play a friendly game of catch on the beach. Rayburn says he stopped caring about the game after Primo's death, because he felt there were more important things in life. He makes the mistake of telling Gil that he has lost respect for the fans, remarking on their fickle nature — when he's playing, they love him, but when he's not, they hate him. Gil's temper rises as he almost hits Rayburn with a fast ball and launches into a diatribe. Rayburn is slightly disturbed, especially when Gil takes off his jacket to reveal Rayburn's jersey underneath and wonders if Rayburn is happy that Primo's not around.
Rayburn discovers to his horror that Gil has kidnapped his son and has fled in his car, as well as finding a piece of Primo's branded shoulder in his freezer. Disillusioned with Rayburn's disrespect towards the fans, Gil spirals further into insanity. He acts as though Rayburn's son is his own. He drives to see an old friend, Coop (Charles Hallahan), a catcher that Gil spoke often of playing baseball with in his past. Coop tries to help Sean escape, and reveals that the only time he and Gil ever played together was in Little League. Gil then, beats Coop to death with a baseball bat and takes Rayburn's son to a baseball field and hides him there. He contacts Rayburn to make one demand: hit a home run in the upcoming game and dedicate it to Gil, or he will kill his son. With the police on high alert, Gil enters the Giants' stadium in the midst of an on-and-off thunderstorm. Rayburn struggles with his emotions while at bat. After several pitches, he finally hits the ball deep into the outfield but not over the fence. Rayburn attempts to score an inside-the-park home run. He is called out, even though he is obviously safe. Rayburn argues with the umpire, who turns out to be Gil in disguise.
Rayburn knocks Gil to the ground. Dozens of cops swarm onto the field and confront Gil. Before they arrive, Gil stabs another player, Lanz (John Kruk), who tries to tackle him. Despite warnings from the police, Gil goes into an exaggerated pitching motion with a knife in hand. He asks Rayburn if he cares about baseball, but realizes he cares "just a little bit." He is shot dead as he is about to throw the knife. Police discover Rayburn's son at the Little League baseball field where Gil played as a child. They uncover his obsession with Rayburn, as hundreds of newspaper clippings adorn the deranged fan's hideout. A picture on the wall shows Gil in his past glory, playing Little League Baseball.
- Robert De Niro as Gil "Curly" Renard
- Wesley Snipes as Bobby Rayburn
- Benicio del Toro as Juan Primo
- John Leguizamo as Manny, Rayburn's agent and manager
- Patti D'Arbanville as Ellen Renard
- Ellen Barkin as Jewel Stern
- Charles Hallahan as Coop
- Andrew J. Ferchland as Richie Renard
- Chris Mulkey as Tim (Richie's stepfather)
- Brandon Hammond as Sean Rayburn
- John Kruk as Lanz, one of Rayburn's teammates
- Dan Butler as Garrity (Gil's boss)
- Kurt Fuller as Bernie (Jewel's co-worker)
- Stanley DeSantis as Stoney
- Don S. Davis as Stook, Giants' manager.
- Michael Jace as a ticket scalper
- M.C. Gainey as a Giants fan
- Aaron Neville as Himself (opening game singer)
- Jack Black as a radio broadcast technician
The Fan got mixed to negative reviews from critics, as it holds a 38% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 26 reviews.