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The Negotiator (1998)

Samuel L. Jackson , Kevin Spacey , F. Gary Gray  |  R |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (270 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Spacey, David Morse, Ron Rifkin, John Spencer
  • Directors: F. Gary Gray
  • Writers: James DeMonaco, Kevin Fox
  • Producers: Albert Beveridge, Arnon Milchan, David Hoberman, David Nicksay, Robert Stone
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, Special Edition, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: December 15, 1998
  • Run Time: 140 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (270 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0790739739
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,626 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Negotiator" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Documentary "The 11th Hour: Stories from Real Negotiators", profiling real-life police negotiators
  • Chicago on-location behind-the-scenes documentary

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Although it eventually runs out of smart ideas and resorts to a typically explosive finale, this above-average thriller rises above its formulaic limitations on the strength of powerful performances by Samuel L. Jackson and Kevin Spacey. Both play Chicago police negotiators with hotshot reputations, but when Jackson's character finds himself falsely accused of embezzling funds from a police pension fund, he's so thoroughly framed that he must take extreme measures to prove his innocence. He takes hostages in police headquarters to buy time and plan his strategy, demanding that Spacey be brought in to mediate with him as an army of cops threatens to attack, and a media circus ensues. Both negotiators know how to get into the other man's thoughts, and this intellectual showdown allows both Spacey and Jackson to ignite the screen with a burst of volatile intensity. Director F. Gary Gray is disadvantaged by an otherwise predictable screenplay, but he has a knack for building suspense and is generous to a fine supporting cast, including Paul Giamatti as one of Jackson's high-strung hostages, and the late J.T. Walsh in what would sadly be his final big-screen role. The movie should have trusted its compelling characters a little more, probing their psyches more intensely to give the suspense a deeper dramatic foundation, but it's good enough to give two great actors a chance to strut their stuff. --Jeff Shannon

Product Description

This film centers on a former FBI hostage negotiator who, after being framed for murder, tries to clear his name by taking several people hostage in order to uncover the guilty party.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Intelligent, Taut Thriller October 10, 2008
Format:DVD
Just when you think he's cornered, he thinks of a new strategy. Samuel L. Jackson portrays Lieutenant Danny Roman, police hostage negotiator. When he's framed for a crime he didn't commit, against his fellow police officers no less, he knows that the only way out is to bring in an equally tough negotiator, Lieutenant Chris Sabian played by Kevin Spacey, who's from another precinct and who therefore could not have been contaminated by the bad elements within his own force, which buys him the necessary time to bluff and blindside while he finds the clues he needs to prove he's innocent. Chicago is taken hostage along with the few people he retains as bargaining chips, and we are taken along for the ride. This was a masterful job of film-making from beginning to end. The characters and story were flawlessly developed. We don't precisely know who's guilty or who's innocent. Roman conducts his interrogation and trial while he negotiates with the police outside, some of whom are working overtime to eliminate Roman before he figures it all out. This all occurs right under the noses of the FBI who are in way over their heads and don't have a clue who's guilty or innocent, just like the rest of us watching. Along the way, we get to witness Roman lecture his underlings about the finer points of negotiations while he himself has just become a hostage taker. "Never say no!" he barks with effective zeal. And he tests his bewildered pupils continuously, who fail continuously. Only Sabian is smart enough to understand what's going on in Roman's mind. The strategy is shared by two men who think alike, who are under stress, and have an innate instinct for lie detection. The screenplay was terrific. The cinematography was effective. The acting of Jackson and Spacey exceptional. And the supporting cast, particularly bad-guy-turned-good-guy Paul Giamatti who provides great comic relief, was outstanding. If you're in the mood for an intelligent, taut thriller, The Negotiator delivers... 9/10.
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Negotiator April 5, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Someone is embezzling money from the police department, and when Danny Roman is accused of the deed, he ends up taking several hostages within the department when things escalate and get out of hand. Danny has lost confidence in everyone in his own department, so he requests hostage negotiator Chris Sabian to help negotiate, and help prove his innocence. As the situation gets to a critical level, pieces of the puzzle start to fall into place. This is a very intense emotional suspense movie. Samuel Jackson and Kevin Spacey turn in phenomenal performances. This thrill a minute film is a definite must see.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
One of the finest police negotiator in the city, Danny Roman (Samuel L. Jackson), is set up and accused of murdering his partner and best friend, Nate Roenick (Paul Guilfoyle) after discovering that money from a police fund is stolen from police just like them, and maybe even those they call "friends". Soon, evidence, circumstances and even close friends all point fingers at Roman, but he isn't even close to giving in. As the story unfolds, Roman storms into the Infernal Affairs hoping to find something about the ones that stole the money and killed Roenick. Though intending to faces Inspector Terence Neibaum and reveal the truth peacefully, Roman is soon forced to take Niebaum, along with others in his office, as hostages. In a matter of short time, Roman is on national television and his previous co-workers are on to stop him. Ironically, he isn't negotiating, but being negotiated with, this time by Lt. Chris Sabian (Kevin Spacey) the best negotiator in the country, but not even the finest can bring Roman down, because he knows the rules of the game. As Roman gets closer to the truth, time is fighting against him, as people forcefully attempt to stop him by all means.

A true classic, redefining the definition of truth and persistence as a strong individual fights through with belief and justice on his shoulders. This suspenseful, exciting, dramatic, and action-filled movie is one not to be missed.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stellar cast and tight script make for a tense thriller December 6, 2004
Format:DVD
Lt. Danny Roman (Samuel L. Jackson), a police negotiator, and his partner Nate Roenick (Paul Guilfoyle) discover that someone has been embezzling money from the police retirement fund. When Nate is killed, Danny is set up with planted evidence to take the fall on the embezzlement charges.

When Danny confronts Inspector Terence Neibaum (J.T. Walsh), who works in Internal Affairs, trying to find out why he is being set up, things get out of hand and Danny winds out taking Neibaum and his entire office hostage. Danny insists on speaking only with Lt. Chris Sabian (Kevin Spacey), a police negotiator from a west side precinct who is unknown to their department. Danny's hopes are that with Chris being an outsider, he can help him discover the truth behind the bad cops in his department that killed his partner.

What follows is a tense thriller as step by step, Danny gets closer to the truth behind the very people he has known and worked with for over ten years, building up to a rather predictable and yet intensely climactic ending.

The performances by Samuel Jackson and Kevin Spacey are as good as it gets, backed by terrific supporting roles from David Morse, J.T. Walsh, Siobhan Fallon, Paul Giamatti, and Michael Cudlitz.

The Negotiator stands out amongst other movies of it's genre because of it's tight scripting, excellent editing and photography, and the obvious fact that the actors involved were working as a close team. This is a great thriller, tense from beginning to end, and a definite addition to your DVD collection.

I like the fact that it is definitely enjoyable even after the second and third viewing, knowing who is who the second time around and watching the interaction from the "I know who's guilty" angle, and appreciating the performances all over again. Enjoy!
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