Rated “R” for Language and Violence
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. -Lt. Chris Sabian
A Police Officer named Danny Roman finds himself in the middle of an insurance scam that results in the murder of his partner, and he has been framed for the crime. Danny is desperate to prove himself innocent, but all the circumstantial evidence points in his direction and no one, not even his closest friends can be trusted. A seasoned negotiator, Danny takes it upon himself to take the man he feels has the answers hostage in the internal affairs division of the building. Danny is ready for anything they throw in his direction, and while he is fighting his friends, he knows any of them could have been the ones to betray him. He calls for an outside Negotiator and refuses to give in until his demands are met, which are simply an effort to prove his innocence.
The story itself had a very complex and compelling plot. People are always intrigued by a story with dirty cops and never being sure who the bad guys are. This film fed off that standard very well. Sam Jackson as Danny Roman had enough time to really develop his character and prove his innocence to the audience before things go off the wire. It made it a strong driving force for the rest of the film to react to. His reaction may be a bit extreme, but the suspension of disbelief category is easily used here as the events that transpire after he takes hostages are engaging enough to forget.
Once the action and suspense starts building the arc of each of the main character’s journey’s begin to climax and the tension of the unknown makes for a very intense and also entertaining movie. Romans determination and all the explosions and action sequences are paced well enough through out that they don’t deter from the point of the story.
A lot of the film is predictable, and some of the character’s behaviors are as well, but it doesn’t detract from the pulse of the movie too much. There are a few times where you may find yourself going, “C’mon”. But in general those moments are few and easy to ignore or laugh off as silly action film nonsense.
- Samuel L. Jackson as Lt. Danny Roman
- Kevin Spacey as Lt. Chris Sabian
- David Morse as Cmdr. Adam Beck
- Ron Rifkin as Cmdr. Grant Frost
- John Spencer as Chief Al Travis
- J.T. Walsh as Inspecter Terence Niebaulm
Samuel L. Jackson is a special pleasure to enjoy when he plays a character that has no restraints. Twenty minutes into this film all restraints were released and Jackson was able to let the madness and raw emotion of Danny Roman go in any and all directions. When playing a role like this actors often come across as over doing it or having a certain discomfort, but this is Jackson’s forte, and he played the mangled, desperate Danny Roman honestly and brilliantly. His counterpart, Chris Sabian, played by Kevin Spacey was a perfect contrast to the out of control Roman. Kevin Spacey, probably one of the most talented actors alive today, was outstanding as the calm and in control character balancing Roman. When Sabian’s patience is tested, his frustration is so genuine. His character is not used to people not following his directions or doing exactly as he says, and when he begins to lose control of the situation, his reaction is authentic. Spacey and Jackson were a fantastic duo that complimented each other very well.
Ratings and Suggestions
The first two hours of this film was a nail biting action/character drama that was suspenseful and had a magnetic feel that keep you drawn to the screen. It suffers an “R” rating mostly due to the language, but it’s violence is mild in comparison to most “R” rated films. With a few hiccup’s throughout that were easy to ignore, this was a fun movie that just about anyone would enjoy. I rate The Negotiator Two And A Half out of Four stars.