review by Bobby Blakey
Over the last few years John Travolta has been churning out films left and right with almost all of them being released straight to home entertainment. His latest one The Fanatic co-staring Devon Sawa and Ana Golja with Limp Bizkit front man Fred Durst in the directors seat looks like it could be something crazy special. Could this film offer up the craziness the trailer promises or will it be unable to find its own fans?
The Fanatic follows Moose, a rabid movie fan who is obsessed with his favorite celebrity action hero, Hunter Dunbar. When he is cheated out of his opportunity to finally meet Hunter, Moose gets a little help from his friend Leah, a well-connected paparazzi photographer, who knows how to find celebrity homes. Moose turns to stalking to get the celebrity interaction he feels he deserves, and while harmless at first, Moose's actions begin to take a dark turn as his obsession grows stronger. As the visits continue to escalate, Hunter Dunbar finds himself in increasing danger.
This concept is nothing that hasn’t been seen on screen before with one of the probably more well-known being the 1996 film The Fan starring Robert DeNiro and Wesley Snipes. Where this one stands apart is bringing the lead character played perfectly by Travolta to the forefront and instead of being straight forward crazy, he is on the spectrum. Now this isn’t to make fun of his issues or excuse but instead to keep his own confusion of how to deal with things and more often than not in the wrong way, the catalyst for his decent. What’s interesting is there is an element that makes you kind of feel bad for him from the way he is treated before finally heading down a darker direction.
Travolta gives one of his best performances in years here. I loved the attention to detail in his mannerisms and line delivery. There are elements that come off a bit funny, but not as intentional comedy I believe but just the way life works. As he is treated so poorly throughout with almost everyone he encounters watching his decent is great seeing Travolta all in for the role. While Devon
Sawa is great here, he doesn’t get as much meat to work with until the second half of the film, but this is Travolta’s show all the way. The story has some interesting directions and I applaud Durst’s commitment to it all most notably the ending that some may not like. I kind of dug what he did, but did seem kind of abrupt on some level.
As a whole I really enjoyed this thanks to the great performance of Travolta and interesting journey his character Moose takes. I also really loved a moment at the end where Sawa’s character has to deal with the realism of what he should do as opposed to what he can do which affects everything afterwards. This film isn’t breaking anything new in the obsessed fan genre of storytelling, but it is adding its own stamp on it as one of Travolta’s most memorable characters in his filmography.
Check out the film now in theaters and then on September 6th on Digital and On Demand from Quiver Distribution.