Tony Scott is a gifted director at one thing: making a dull lack luster film look glossy and attractive. Sometimes he does more than just this, an example would be his previous Crimson Tide. With The Fan he has returned to being the director who makes a lack luster film look glossy and attractive.
In The Fan Robert DeNiro is an obsessive baseball fan. He is a troubled man with all sorts of problems in his life, he can’t see his son, he’s on the verge of losing his job, and, well, he’s just a little wacky. Wesley Snipes gives a decent Barry Bonds impersonation in The Fan. Snipes is a recently acquired $40 million free agent for the San Francisco Giants from the Atlanta Braves.
The Fan moves at a snail’s pace for the first hour, and really does not improve after that. The first hour does only one thing, it shows how DeNiro’s Gil Renard is a crazed troubled man. After that, the movie picks up pace, following DeNiro and his “support” for Snipes' Bobby Rayburn. But, this pick up of pace is not much of a help for the movie.
Scott does a wonderful job of filming and making this film look good. But, this is a complete loss because of the putrid script that he is shooting with. All of the characters are presented as cardboard cutouts. And there are even characters that I can’t figure to why they are given such a big role, one of those would be Ellen Barkin’s Jewel Stern. The baseball scenes are, surprisingly, few. This is good because the baseball scenes do not feel all that authentic, especially the end climatic baseball sequence.
Tony Scott needs to be more selective when picking scripts to work with. The Fan is obviously a skeleton worth of a script that needed a whole lot of work before it was shot. Scott needs to find more scripts like Crimson Tide. When he is given a good script to work with, Tony Scott can put out a wonderful film. But, when he is given a bad script to work with, his talents for looks are wasted. Skip The Fan, though Tony Scott has made this lack luster film look glossy and attractive, it’s only looks, there’s nothing of substance here.