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"The Fan" is a 1996 film by British film director Tony Scott, starring Robert De Niro and Wesley Snipes with Ellen Barkin, John Leguizamo, and Benicio Del Toro co starring (with a John Kruk cameo appearance).

(Spoliers herein)

The film centers around Gil Renard (played by the King of Psycho, Robert De Niro), a distressed knife salesman and hardcore San Fransisco Giants fan. Gil has many problems in his life (he's a divorced parent, he's having trouble at work, among other things), but he is perky about one thing. His Giants have signed Bobby Rayburn (Wes Snipes), a self-centered All Star, from the Atlanta Braves for $40 million big ones.

Meanwhile, Gil has been negligent around work (showing up late for work, and ignoring orders from the boss), and he soon becomes a former employee. But, that does not stop Gil from taking his son to Opening Day at Candlestick Park. With this, we get a taste of Gil's perfectionist attitude towards his son's ballplaying (he gives tips to his son, and is quite adament that Richie watch the game).

During the ballgame however, Gil leaves Rich alone, as he goes to sell some knives (prior to his firing). After realizing he is late, he goes to his ex-wifes home, to find that Rich was taken home by a fan that sat in Gil's section. Gil tries to make up to his son with pizza and pop, and fails miserably.

As all this is happening, Bobby Rayburn is slumping. He attributes this fact that he doesn't have his old number (11), which is Juan Primo's (Benicio Del Toro) number. Bobby and Juan eventually get into a fight over this in a men's room (which ironically, Gil is in one of the stalls). After overhearing what the object of Gil's obsession says was the major factor in his slump (the lack of the number 11), Gil takes action. Promptly, he wastes Primo in the sauna of a hotel.

Bobby begins hitting again, because he now has his number 11. But thats not all Gil wants. Gil wants Bobby to acknowledge that if it wasn't for Gil, he wouldn't be hitting. Eventually, Gil ends up at Bobby's house, where he hears Bobby say that he is in baseball for himself. After chucking a baseball at Rayburn's head, he kidnaps his son, who is lured after Gil says they are going fishing. Gil then visits Coop, another one of Gil's obsessions. Coop ends up dying in the process of helping Rayburn's son escape.

This all leads to the ending, which some consider over the top. The ransom on Rayburn's kid, constituted by Renard, is a home run by Rayburn that is dedicated to Gil Renard. By the end of the game, in near monsoon conditions, Bobby hits an inside the park home run, but the umpire is Gil. All hell breaks loose then.

This film is definately underrated. The storyline is quite well, as well as the screenplay. What really shines is the soundtrack, riddled with The Rolling Stones and Nine Inch Nails. A ton of rock music is used throughout the movie, most of it effectively (especially the Gimme Shelter scene).

8/10

This is a pretty good movie, and one that people should look into.

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