Another UK Blu-ray debut this week is Tony Scott’s stalker thriller The Fan, a film which has certainly lost none of its relevance as we continue to live in a world filled with obsessional, toxic fandom. Robert De Niro is Gil Renard, a knife salesman whose professional and personal life is falling apart. The distraction from his tragic life is baseball, and in particular, superstar Bobby Rayburn (Wesley Snipes), who becomes an unhealthy obsession.
Based on the ‘95 novel by Peter Abrahams, the film is at once a sporting drama, a psychological thriller, and a study of fandom and obsession – and largely succeeds across the board. With 90s thriller maverick Tony Scott behind the camera, you know you’re in for an exciting romp. There’s no denying that The Fan remains an intense and uncomfortable watch, aided by De Niro putting in one of his last great performances as the volatile stalker. He is absolutely fantastic here, commanding the screen in a way that he hasn’t for years with a truly unsettling performance. Snipes is great too, as he goes from cocky hotshot to victim.
The film is rather messily put together and seems to swerve wildly between rushing and dragging, but there are some truly suspenseful moments and two killer performances at its core that elevate it beyond a lot of the more forgettable thrillers of the decade. While it’s certainly not the shiniest jewel in Tony Scott’s crown, this underrated thriller has been given another chance thanks to Signal One Entertainment’s adequate – albeit barebones – Blu-ray release.
The Fan is a dark and suspenseful thriller that succeeds thanks to Tony Scott’s direction and killer performances from De Niro and Snipes.
THE FAN is available now on Blu-ray from Signal One Entertainment