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The Negotiator (1998)



Average Rating: 6.9/10
Critic Reviews: 10
Fresh: 7 | Rotten: 3

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 129,461

My Rating

Movie Info

F. Gary Gray directed this suspenseful action thriller based on a real case experienced by police in St. Louis. The James DeMonaco/Kevin Fox screenplay follows an accused man who is forced to commit crimes in order to prove himself innocent of murder. After Chicago police hostage negotiator Danny Roman (Samuel L. Jackson) succeeds in rescuing a little girl menaced by her gun-wielding dad, he's praised by both the police department and the media, and he returns to his usual cop routines with his

Dec 15, 1998

Warner Bros. Pictures

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All Critics (63) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (42) | Rotten (14) | DVD (17)

Teaming for the first time Kevin Spacey and Samuel 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

September 11, 2006 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A hybrid action-drama featuring the choreographed pyrotechnics of director Gray and a battle of words between contrasting hostage negotiators Jackson and Spacey.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Negotiator deserves a place among the best action/thrillers of the year. This is a Dog Day Afternoon for the '90s.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: ReelViews
Top Critic IconTop Critic

To the extent the setup allows Spacey and Jackson to go head to head, it's a good thing. But there are other elements in the film that aren't nearly as interesting or satisfying.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Comment (1)
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The movie's a thriller that really hums along, and I was intensely involved almost all the way. Only now, typing up my notes, do I fully realize how many formula elements it contains.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

ike Mr. Jackson, Mr. Spacey cuts an impressively cryptic figure even when dealing in platitudes, and the two stars do get to make the sort of declarations that rarely crop up in everyday life.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's not perfect, but it's enjoyable enough to be one of those movies I might stop channel surfing to watch on late-night television.

June 27, 2011 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures | Comment (1)
7M Pictures

This highly incredible story lives and dies on its leading performances, so it's a damn good thing someone hired Jackson and Spacey to go toe to toe. [Blu-ray]

February 17, 2010 Full Review Source: Groucho Reviews
Groucho Reviews

...may lack a certain degree of common sense but makes up for it with plenty of excitement and suspense.

November 10, 2009 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

What makes this talk-heavy actioner work is the intriguing battle of wits between two formidable, intelligent opponents.

April 2, 2009 Full Review Source:

A boring script filmed by a fine director and great actors is still a boring script.

August 25, 2008 Full Review Source: | Comments (3)

Jackson and Spacey, et al, demonstrate that even the most pedestrian script can be elevated by good acting.

January 29, 2005 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

I'm glad Warner Bros. has gone back to making movies instead of theme park rides.

December 8, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

Though it adds nothing new to the genre, The Negotiator is a showcase for its actors and, as such, is a rare breed these days.

September 9, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

An entertaining, if familiar, action/thriller.

June 5, 2002 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

Mais um bom filme de ação - e só.

May 31, 2002 Full Review Source: Cinema em Cena
Cinema em Cena

This implausible, turgid, suspenseless storyline resists both fine acting and Gray's overwrought MTV chops.

March 24, 2002 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

Todos los que salimos de la función teníamos la misma idea al respecto: jamás creímos que fuera tan buena.

September 3, 2001 Full Review Source: Cinenganos

A slickly done and predictable summer escapist film, based on an actual hostage situation in St. Louis.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

The Negotiator merits attention only for the star quality of the two leads. Otherwise, this is dullsville, baby.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

The Negotiator is one of those gloriously unbelievable screenplays and overproduced films that escapist-prone audiences will lap up despite its shortcomings.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Nitrate Online
Nitrate Online

Suffers from ridiculously convoluted plotting and bad scripting. That's a real pity because it has such a talented cast, including actors Samuel L. Jackson and Kevin Spacey.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

The Negotiator falls short of greatness by a country mile; it's too chatty for its own good sometimes. But it's still a solid shoot-'em-up.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

Audience Reviews for The Negotiator

Its a walk in the park for the two leads who enliven this ho-hummer about police corruption and some money missing from the patrolmen's fund. The interesting twist is the battle of wits between two professional hostage negotiaters.
February 4, 2013

Super Reviewer

Based on actual events, F. Gary Gray directs this tense action/suspense thriller about Danny Roman- a top Chicago hostage negotiator who, after being framed for murder and suspected of departmental corruption, takes desperate measures to clear his name and discover the truth by taking hostages of his own and forcing a fellow top negotiator from a different district to diffuse the situation.

The film does get overwrought and maybe a bit much in terms of believability from time to time, but is nevertheless an extremely suspenseful thrill ride punctuated by solid performances from a great cast. Samuel L. Jackson is tremendous as Roman, and Kevin Spacey is likewise very top-notch as the outsider negotiator Chris Sabian. Those two work well together, and I'd love to see them do more work with one another in the future. J.T. Walsh gives a solid turn in one of his final films as a shady player at Internal Affairs whom Danny takes hostage, and, for comic relief, there's Paul Giamatti as a weaselly informant. And it also doesn't hurt to get solid, if typical work from David Morse as one of Danny's colleagues who is conflicted by how to handle the situation.

That's one aspect where the film really shines. The hostage taker knows all the rules and tricks, and the fact that he has a history with the people on the other side (who might also be the people that set him up) make this a real nail-biter at times. Having an outsider come into the situation is also great as he could be more trustworthy in Danny's eyes, but not necessarily. Plus, he's got to deal with Danny's department, who likewise don't know or really trust him.

Like I said, the film isn't perfect, but is still very thrilling, extremely gripping, and holds together quite nicely. F. Gary Gray gets crap as a director for being rather contrived and cliched, but when it comes to delivering crowd pleasing entertainment, he's great, and this is a film I really recommend.
December 9, 2012
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Another flixter deletion, I reviewed this a long time ago but it was probably too colorful. The length could be condensed but I think it's one of Samuel Jackson's best movies in a leading role. It has a solid supporting cast and is a prime example of his yelling abilities.
July 30, 2011
Lenny Muggsy

Super Reviewer

F. Gary Gray is a terrific director when it comes to delivering action, suspense and thrills. He is overlooked as a talented director because his films tend to be "cliched" and "derivative". However I think he's a good director, not great, not excellent, but good. Gray knows how to deliver a good story to the screen, and he most certainly does it with The Negotiator. This is an electrifying film with plenty of action, but more importantly, suspense. The story follows a cop who is accused of killing his partner. His partner uncovered a conspiracy of embezzlement with the police department. Officer Danny Roman must then take matters into his own hands to uncover the truth. He takes a group of people hostage at the Chicago internal affairs division headquarters.The Negotiator is a well crafted action thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat. The film is not perfect, but it certainly delivers good entertainment. Samuel L. Jackson gives a great performance and so does Kevin Spacey. The plot is very interesting, like I said itr's not perfect, but there are more good things than bad in the film. The acting choices are good, and everyone delivers something unique on screen. I really enjoyed this film and despite the somewhat lackluster bits, theres too much going on that makes up for the bad. For me, The Negotiator is one of Samuel L. Jackson's best films, and he delivers something on screen thats better than most of his other work.
May 22, 2011
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

    1. Danny Roman: It didn't work, Beck! I'm still alive, motherfucker!
    – Submitted by Salim I (5 months ago)
    1. Stacy Sabian: I'm a pill.
    – Submitted by Jesse K (16 months ago)
    1. Rudy: You know what Nietzsche says: Even the strongest have their moments of fatigue. And I'm fatigued, Danny. I'm just, I'm fucking fatigued.
    – Submitted by Francis L (2 years ago)
    1. Chris Sabian: I once talked a guy out of blowing up the Sears Tower but I can't talk my wife out of the bedroom or my kid off the phone.
    – Submitted by Francis L (2 years ago)
View all quotes (4)

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