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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 2.35:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  Subtitles
    English, Czech, Greek, Polish, Hungarian, Croatian, Bulgarian, Slovenian, Serbian
  Extras
  • 3 Theatrical trailer - Secret Window, Taxi Driver, Money Train
  • Dolby Digital trailer
The Fan
Tristar Pictures/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 111 mins . Sony Pictures Home Entertainment . PAL

  Feature
Contract

The Fan centres on the obsession of sports fans taken to the next level. The film opens with a chilling narration by Robert De Niro's character Gil Renard; a down on his luck Knife Salesman coming out of a messy divorce, and custody battle, that sets the tone for the rest of the film. You see, Gil is not your average Baseball fan. Following the San Francisco Giants with a somewhat fanatical religious zeal over the years, Gil is over the moon when the Giants sign hotshot up and comer Bobby Rayburn played by Wesley Snipes for a cool $40,000,000 to lead the Giants to Victory.

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You're useless Wilson....
With the season kicking off things don't work out for young Bobby who begins to fall into a career-crippling slump. Due in part to his lucky jersey number 11 being taken by another hotshot within the team, Juan Primo played by Benicio Del Toro who refuses to let go of the number 11 unless Bobby pays him half a million for it. Balking at the demands of this little upstart, Bobby soldiers on with different number that proves not so lucky. Leading everyone from sports journo's to armchair coaches alike to question Bobby's $40,000,000 fee paid by the Giants.

Naturally Gil, the Giants #1 fan isn't all that happy either with the proceedings and begins a campaign to help his fallen idol out of his rut. Gil goes out of his way to ingratiate himself upon Rayburn. Gil takes an offhand remark about Juan Primo too seriously and decides that removing Primo from the picture would be the better option for Rayburn and the Giants. Bobby, unbeknownst that Gil is the man responsible for Primoís premature shuffling off the buffalo, strike up an acquaintance after Gil prevents Bobby's child from drowning. While the two talk Baseball, Bobby makes it clear that he is only in it for the money and not the greater good of the team.

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Talk to the hand Sista!

Incredulous about Rayburn's remarks Gil offers a theory as to why Bobby suddenly regained his form followed by the sudden departure of Primo. Bobby catches on to these veiled threats and immediately tries to distance himself from this wacko. Gil isn't in a hurry to let Bobby forgedaboutit.

  Video
  Audio
  Extras
Contract

Presented in its theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and 16:9 enhanced, the transfer is very good for a film featuring minimal tweaking for its DVD release. The print used is relatively free from film artefacts, with only minor occurrences of dust littering the print. Colour detail is good, and black levels are handled well during the films many nighttime scenes. Edge enhancement reared its ugly head a few times that would largely go un-noticed to the average viewer. There were also instances where the focus went a little soft during certain scenes lasting a brief second or two. This is the case with my old VHS edition of this film leading me to believe that itís a problem inherent with the source.

As is the case with most of Tony Scott's films, the audio is just as aggressive as what's on screen. A fully-fledged Dolby Digital 5.1 track that is very good in it's use of surrounds and LFE extension should bring a smile to many a home theatre enthusiast. Dialogue is clear at all times, and the use of the surrounds recreating the ambience of a stadium or busy locations is done well. Music is an integral part of this film charting the decent of De Niro's character into madness, and Mr. Scott has saw fit to include a few cuts from Nine Inch Nails' album The Downward Spiral to illustrate this; a similar motif revisited in his recent outing Man On Fire. The music and the score make good use of the surrounds, and are ably reinforced by the LFE channel.

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Don't make me get all Blade on you.

The only extras are a group of trailers featuring the two leads of similarly themed movies and they are Secret Window, Taxi Driver, and Money Train. A real disappointment that such an excallant film is delivered in this fashion on our beloved format.

Love him or hate him, Tony Scott has often been accused of being part of the Michael Bay MTV School of Filmmaking alumni with his use of breakneck editing and off kilter camera angles.

This film comes across a tad over stylised but knowing full well that itís a Tony Scott film is enough of a disclaimer for me. Overall The Fan is an enjoyable film, De Niro is absolutely riveting showing no signs of a phoned in performance that has often plagued his output in the last decade. Granted he may not be making a radical departure in the crazed/revenged character stakes as displayed previously in Cape Fear or Taxi Driver.

The rest of the cast are in fine form also and do well with what they have been given, but really how can they compete with De Niro? Wesley Snipes, who I usually struggle with at the best of times, is perfectly suited to his role. Stepping up to the plate with De Niro and pulling it off. But the real highlight here is watching a perfect example of De Niro's finely calibrated slow boil of descent into madness a la Taxi Driver.


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  •   And I quote...
    "A perfect example of De Niro's finely calibrated slow boil of descent into madness a la Taxi Driver."
    - Anthony Bethell
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Sony DVP-NS780
    • Projector:
          Infocus 4805 DLP Projector
    • Screen:
          LP Morgan Galleria 95" 16:9 fixed screen
    • Receiver:
          Sony STR-DB795
    • Speakers:
          Sony SS-MF650HM
    • Centre Speaker:
          Sony CR550HM
    • Surrounds:
          Sony SS-550HM
    • Subwoofer:
          Sony SA-WM500M
    • Audio Cables:
          MaxCable Optical
    • Video Cables:
          MaxCable Component
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