The Negotiator

The Negotiator Information

The Negotiator is a 1998 action thriller film directed by F. Gary Gray, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Kevin Spacey. It takes place in Chicago and was released on July 29, 1998. The original music score was composed by Graeme Revell.


Lieutenant Danny Roman (Samuel L. Jackson) is a top Chicago Police Department hostage negotiator. He has a deserved reputation for being the best, but he is not without his detractors, such as Commander Adam Beck (David Morse), head of a Hostage Barricade Terrorism (HBT) unit who thinks Roman takes too many chances.

Roman is middle-aged and recently married. He is approached by his colleague Nathan 'Nate' Roenick (Paul Guilfoyle), who warns him that large sums of money are being embezzled from the department's disability fund, whose board Roman is on. Roenick has an informant, with whom he was at the Police Academy and with whom he served for a while, but Roenick refuses to name him. Roman suggests he go to Internal Affairs. Later that evening, Roman is paged for another meeting with Roenick, but instead finds him dead from a gunshot wound, seconds before patrol officers arrive.

The case goes badly for Roman when it is assigned to Niebaum (J.T. Walsh) of the Internal Affairs Division (IAD), who Roenick thought was involved in the embezzlement. Furthermore, the gun used to kill Roenick was one of three involved in a case Roman handled. A search warrant uncovered documents in Roman's house indicating that the embezzled funds had been deposited in an offshore account. Roman denies any knowledge.

Facing serious charges, suspended from the force and rejected by his friends and colleagues, including Roenick's widow, a frustrated Roman storms into Niebaum's office and, in the ensuing chaos, takes Niebaum and several others hostage, including Niebaum's administrative assistant Maggie (Siobhan Fallon), police commander Grant Frost (Ron Rifkin), and two-bit con man Rudy Timmons (Paul Giamatti).

With the building evacuated and placed under siege by police and the FBI, Roman issues his conditions, which include finding Roenick's informant and summoning police Lt. Chris Sabian (Kevin Spacey), another top negotiator. Sabian, who has been trying rather unsuccessfully to negotiate peace between his sulking wife (Mary Page Keller) and cheeky daughter (Mulrooney), arrives on the scene. Roman and Sabian have only met once, and know each other through reputation, but Roman wants Sabian because he is from another side of the city, unconnected to the pension fund matter, has a reputation for negotiating as long as possible before using force, and should be one of the few people Roman can trust.

Sabian soon finds himself in a cat and mouse duel with Roman and a dispute over authority between him, the local cops, and the feds, who disagree over jurisdiction and tactics.

While Sabian tries to come up with a solution, Roman, with the help of Timmons and Maggie, gets into Niebaum's computer and discovers recordings of wiretaps, including his last conversation with Roenick. He discovers that Roenick himself was the actual informant and had passed his evidence on to the IAD. Niebaum admits that he investigated the embezzlement, but then took bribes from the fraudsters. Niebaum implicates many of Roman's squad-mates in the conspiracy, but does not know who the ringleader is. Before he can reveal where he has hidden the evidence, Roman's squad-mates (who overheard his confession) attack and kill Niebaum.

Believing that Sabian and the police have lost control of the situation, the FBI relieve Sabian and order a full-on assault. Sabian runs into the building, where Roman shows him that the HBT team member, Scott, was not really shot. Roman had bluffed to make everyone believe that he could kill the hostages. Sabian has come to believe that Roman has a case and gives him a chance to prove his innocence. Prior to the impending FBI SWAT attack, he and Roman devise a plan. Roman is able to sneak out of the building during the assault by wearing a confiscated HBT uniform. They proceed to Niebaum's house, where they try to find the evidence, but are confronted there by Frost and three other members of Roman's old squad, who reveal themselves as the fraudsters and the killers of Roenick and Niebaum.

In front of Frost, Sabian suddenly shoots Roman and offers to destroy the evidence Roman has uncovered in return for "a piece of the pie" from Frost. Frost agrees and effectively makes a full admission to his crimes, but when he leaves the house, he finds the whole area surrounded by police who have overheard his confession over Sabian's radio. Sabian had bluffed that he had killed Roman (though he had legitimately shot Roman in the abdomen), while Roman had broadcasted Sabian's and Frost's conversation. Humiliated, Frost attempts to shoot himself, but Beck quickly shoots his gun arm, and the police seize him. Roman is now cleared, and Sabian gives Roman his badge back as he is taken away in an ambulance.


Production notes

The Negotiator was dedicated to J.T. Walsh, who died several months before the film's release.

The building used for the IAD office is 77 West Wacker Drive, the headquarters of United Airlines.

When it was made, The Negotiator's $50 million budget was the highest ever given to an African-American director.

Factual Basis

This film is loosely based on the pension fund scandal in the St. Louis Police Department in the late 1980s and early 1990s.


Critical response

The film received a generally positive critical response and a score of 75% on Rotten Tomatoes. Emanuel Levy of Variety wrote: "Teaming for the first time Kevin Spacey and Samuel L. Jackson, arguably the two best actors of their generation, in perfectly fitting roles is a shrewd move and the best element of this fact-inspired but overwrought thriller."

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "The_Negotiator" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



Page generated in 0.287024974823 seconds