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The Negotiator (1998)

 -  Action | Crime | Drama  -  29 July 1998 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 96,546 users   Metascore: 62/100
Reviews: 276 user | 126 critic | 23 from Metacritic.com

In a desperate attempt to prove his innocence, a skilled police negotiator accused of corruption and murder takes hostages in a government office to gain the time he needs to find the truth.

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Title: The Negotiator (1998)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Danny Roman
...
...
Adam Beck
...
Grant Frost
...
Chief Al Travis
...
Terence Niebaum
...
Maggie
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Rudy
...
...
Markus
...
Palermo
...
Eagle
Tim Kelleher ...
Argento
...
Scott
...
Hellman
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Storyline

In the midst of an elaborate conspiracy, an expert negotiator is driven to the edge when he's framed for the murder of his partner, as well as embezzling money from his department's pension fund. His only chance to prove his innocence is to take hostages himself, acquire the services of another expert negotiator, and find out who's running the conspiracy before it's too late. Written by Ted Walters

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Chicago's two top negotiators must face each other. One of them is holding hostages. The other is demanding surrender. And everyone's holding their breath. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

29 July 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El mediador  »

Box Office

Budget:

$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£447,191 (UK) (27 November 1998)

Gross:

£1,484,716 (UK) (1 January 1999)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie was originally written to star Sylvester Stallone and Kevin Spacey. Spacey was supposed to be the hostage-taker and Stallone playing opposite him. When Stallone turned down the part, Spacey decided he wanted the other part and his original part was recast to Samuel L. Jackson. See more »

Goofs

The waveform being shown of the audio file being played is way off in comparison to the actual audio itself. See more »

Quotes

Lieutenant Chris Sabian: I want you to apologize for telling your mother she looks...
[Sabian's daughter makes a huge gesture with her hands]
Lieutenant Chris Sabian: Wide.
[Sabian smiles and whispers at his daughter]
Lieutenant Chris Sabian: Wide's not a good word, how'd you like to be called wide?
See more »

Connections

References Die Hard (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

Doin' What I Did
(1994)
Performed and Written by Dwight Yoakam
Courtesy of Reprise Records
By Arrangement with Warner Special Markets
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Acting Duos...
10 May 2007 | by (Argentina) – See all my reviews

An honest cop is an easy target, right? Well, this is what the trailer of "The Negotiator" states, but it also states a lot of more things; some which it shouldn't state. So my first recommendation is: don't watch the trailer of this film before watching the film itself…It will make it better. Danny Roman (Samuel L. Jackson) is a successful negotiator and, as it happens in these films, he's getting too close to something and consequences are ahead.

That's all you'll hear from me. After this main plot line, "The Negotiator" becomes a nerve- racking ride; with thrills all the way through and a very intelligent use of the general elements of the crime thriller. See, that's the thing about crime thrillers: they are always around the same kind of ideas and stories. I recently watched "Edison" and I didn't like the way it handled things; because it wanted to give an explanation to a conspiracy that was confusing and difficult to understand, sadly inside of a good script.

"The Negotiator" suffers from the same thing. However, writers James DeMonaco and Kevin Fox make it up with some beautifully written, gripping dialogue in a fantastic achievement; considering that one of them hadn't done anything before and the other had written "Jack". The screenplay of "The Negotiator" is probably what brings the rest to life.

It isn't the writers' fault but, although the cameras are well placed and F. Gary Gray's direction is accurate, everything feels a little bit like television (like in "SWAT"). I'm not saying this is a bad characteristic, because it doesn't make the film less dynamic and because the film is, as I said, intelligent; but it's ultimately disappointing. The music by Graeme Revell is one of the high points, with chilling strings that accentuate the characters' looks in the moments of tension.

These moments of tension also look like television, but we forgive it because we get some good intense looks. If "The Negotiator" is not good for everything else (which is not entirely true), it is good because of the actors (casting by David Rubin). Samuel L. Jackson is full of perfectly managed rage as Danny Roman, achieving a better performance than the ones he got in other movies where he carried guns, like "The Long Kiss Goodnight", "Rules of Engagement", even "Shaft" and definitely "SWAT".

A lot of the actors in the cast come from television or are now still on television (which may help the feeling I was talking about), like Ron Rifkin, John Spencer, Carlos Gomez, Nestor Serrano, Stephen Lee and Doug Spinuzza. They are all great, and so is the late J.T Walsh in a small role. Besides, Regina Taylor is powerful as Jackson the cold David Morse is astounding playing a kind of villain and showing he's one of the best for playing villains today; even in films like "Dreamer".

Paul Giamatti steals the show as a maniac hostage, which is a nice performance to see Giamatti before becoming the cult performer he is now. He was still good then. Siobhan Fallon is also flawless as a law-abiding secretary. But Jackson is the centre of the movie, alongside the other main character. Chris Sabian appears late in the film, but in the skin of Kevin Spacey he encounters Jackson's craziness and "The Negotiator" elevates itself into a whole different level. Spacey's facial expression and manner of talking and Jackson's unique eyes movement are just little details of their incredible performances and their chemistry.

Wonderful actors pay attention to details in movies. At least just to watch Spacey and Jackson, you can't miss "The Negotiator". It has one of the best acting duos I've seen in a long time.


17 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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