Tony Gilroy, writer and director of the Oscar nominated Michael Clayton and writer of all the Jason Bourne movies, has produced the work of a class-A screenwriter with The Negotiator.

The movie is set in war-torn Beirut, where former US diplomat Mason Skiles (Jon Hamm) has been dragged back to work by cultural diplomat Sandy Crowder (Rosamund Pike) to negotiate a hostage situation. Skiles has professional experience and painful personal history in Beirut and Hamm is sensational in the role. This is undoubtedly his best film role to date, having won an Emmy and two Golden Globes for his TV work on Mad Men. It’s about time he was given a decent leading role on the big screen and Hamm has found his mojo here as he digs deep into the character.

Pike matches the excellence of Hamm as the character tasked with getting Skiles back into the game and cooperating. As the two develop their working relationship they build a unique chemistry which works well on screen and keeps the film moving nicely.

It’s a real pleasure for the audience to spend so much time in such exotic locations. Although shot in Morocco, director Brad Anderson does a great job of capturing the capital of Lebanon in that era. Bustling, atmospheric and beautiful, it provides a great setting for a movie full of excitement, with some great sub-plots woven throughout.

Gilroy really knows this genre and despite it being a fictional story, the script feels well-researched and authentic. Built on a great screenplay and directed terrifically by Brad Anderson, combined with the superb screen presence of Jon Hamm and Rosamund Pike, The Negotiator has us convinced.

4 stars

Credit: Movie DB

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