Details: (MA15+), 139 mins, Germany, English
Synopsis: Danny Roman (Samuel L. Jackson) is the best hostage negotiator in the Chicago Police Department; his style is brash, risky and action driven. He is a hero, and newly married to Karen (Regina Taylor). But when his partner Nate (Paul Guilfoyle) is murdered while investigating fraud, Roman is arrested because of circumstantial evidence. In a desperate attempt to prove his innocence, Roman takes the Chief of Internal Affairs Terence Niebaum (J.T. Walsh) and his staff hostage on the 20th floor of headquarters and requests that Chris Sabian (Kevin Spacey), a respected negotiator from another precinct, be brought in to mediate.
Has all the makings of a fine police thriller, but drags out too long diminishing the film.
Danny Roman, Samuel L. Jackson, is a negotiator in the Chicago police force; in the tense opening sequence of F. Gary Gray`s film, he`s seen talking down a deranged man holding a gun at his small daughter`s head. But events soon place Danny on the wrong side of the law: his partner is murdered, he`s the No 1 suspect, and though he knows that cops in his own department are responsible, he can`t prove it. So he invades the office of Internal Affairs investigator J.T. Walsh and holds him, and others, hostage, demanding a negotiator from another precinct - Chris Sabian, Kevin Spacey.
The Negotiator has all the makings of a fine police thriller - an excellent cast, an intriguing idea, a tense storyline. Unfortunately director Gray and screenwriters James De Monaco and Kevin Fox fritter away the suspense by dragging the film out to the inordinate length of almost 2 hours 40 minutes: as a result the viewer has far too much time to think about the improbabilities of it all, and the crucial tension is fatally undermined. You`d have thought that a top producer like Arnon Milchan would have seen that what this film needed was claustrophobic atmosphere and a very tight running time - unfortunately, and despite solid performances, over-inflation fatally diminishes the project.
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