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The Negotiator (1998)

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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.

Director:

F. Gary Gray
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4,748 ( 838)
2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Samuel L. Jackson ... Danny Roman
Kevin Spacey ... Chris Sabian
David Morse ... Adam Beck
Ron Rifkin ... Grant Frost
John Spencer ... Chief Al Travis
J.T. Walsh ... Terence Niebaum
Siobhan Fallon Hogan ... Maggie (as Siobhan Fallon)
Paul Giamatti ... Rudy
Regina Taylor ... Karen Roman
Bruce Beatty ... Markus
Michael Cudlitz ... Palermo
Carlos Gómez ... Eagle
Tim Kelleher ... Argento
Dean Norris ... Scott
Nestor Serrano ... 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Germany | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 July 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El mediador See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,218,831, 2 August 1998, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$44,484,065, 1 November 1998

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$4,400,000, 25 October 1998
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS-Stereo | SDDS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ron Rifkin, Paul Guilfoyle, and Kevin Spacey appeared in L.A. Confidential (1997). See more »

Goofs

At Niebaum's house, Frost shoots a single bullet into the middle of Niebaum's computer to destroy any evidence. This doesn't make any sense since all data is stored on the hard drive. Hitting the hard drive with a single shot is unlikely. Furthermore, in old desktop PCs, the hard drive is usually on the left or the right side. See more »

Quotes

Lieutenant Chris Sabian: I can't believe this, I'm just surrounded by a room of people who wanna go in there and kill him. This is the guy who call you friend. I got nothing invested in this. I wonder why that is, or maybe someday we'll find out.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Film Noir: Bringing Darkness to Light (2006) 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

 
Conventional siege thriller, made better than expected by its actors.
5 September 2004 | by barnabyrudgeSee all my reviews

In terms of plot and story development, The Negotiator offers little that is new. It's a very conventional film. However, it gets a much needed injection from its cast, especially the two leads Jackson and Spacey, whose verbal exchanges are exciting and dynamic.

The far-fetched yarn introduces us to Chicago hostage negotiator Danny Roman (Samuel L. Jackson). Roman's partner Nate (Paul Guilfoyle) is brutally murdered just as he is about to expose a bunch of cops who have been stealing from the Disability Fund. All the clues at the scene of Nate's murder point to Roman being the guilty one. Danny is arrested for the killing, but he remains determined to prove his innocence. He violently besieges the Internal Affairs division of the Chicago P.D, taking several hostages at gunpoint, and proceeds to demand that his name be cleared. Hostage negotiator Chris Sabian (Kevin Spacey) arrives on the scene to talk Roman into surrendering his hostages.

The ease with which Jackson's character is framed for a crime he didn't commit is hard to believe, and his subsequent decision to take hostages in order to clear himself stretches credibility to the limit. The solution to the mystery - with the revelation of the real killer coming right at the end - isn't especially believable either. However, improbabilities aside, The Negotiator is an entertaining work. As mentioned, Jackson and Spacey's confrontations are quite dynamic and help to make the film compulsively watchable. Siege thrillers by their very definition are exciting, and this one is no exception. Granted, The Negotiator is totally conventional fare, but within its limitations it remains a well-crafted, absorbing and agreeable offering.


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