The Fanatic (2019)
Rated R for some strong violence, and language throughout | Thriller | 30 August 2019 (USA)
Synopsis: Moose is a rabid movie fan who is obsessed with his favourite 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 growers stronger. As the visits continue to escalate, Hunter Dunbar finds himself in increasing danger.
Review: There are many films that are worth watching if nothing else for a standout performance or some quality element. THE FANATIC is one such flick. John Travolta gives us an organic portrayal of unhinged obsession as he manifests an endearing, vulnerable yet chilling character who feels very real. It is this reason that I recommend you watch it. The script is full of holes and the plot doesn’t unfold as much as self destruct. To be honest it just doesn’t pan out with any sort of believability.
Moose (Travolta) is a focused, hopelessly optimistic movie fan who is obsessed – an under statement – with action hero Hunter Dunbar (Devon Sawa). When Moose get the chance to meet his big screen idol it does not go well. In fact Dunbar’s reaction to Moose sets off a chain of unfortunate events. Moose has trouble recognizing the lime between fan and fanatic. Dunbar doesn’t help by being a huge tool about the whole thing. These are two people that fuel each other’s negative tendencies and it creates a fire of destruction.
As mentioned Travolta gives us a unique character that is different than anything we have seen him do in the past. Adding ticks and OCD like tendencies Moose is someone that you sympathize with and want to see make better choices. Is he the bad guy? Not really. Is he innocent on all charges? Not at all. It is this conflict of emotion that keeps you on edge throughout.
The story falls apart as the story gets closer to the end. You can easily figure out what writers Dave Bekerman and Fred Durst wanted you to believe but no one is falling for it. It just doesn’t make sense. It is possible that it will all iron out after the credits role but that is not fair to the viewer. It is possible to make a twist take too many turns so that it snaps under pressure. That is what happens here.
What the premise does do successfully is shine a light on the fan/celebrity relationship. Both parties have a sense of obligation and if not kept in check it can ruin the experience for both individuals. Dunbar should feel lucky to have a fan like Moose and Moose should treat that with respect. “There ain’t no good guy, there ain’t no bad guy . There’s only you and me and we just disagree.” – Dave Mason