"Lisa, whatever female-driven, emotion-based dilemma you may be dealing with right now, you have my sympathy. But for the sake of time and sanity, let's break this down into a little male-driven fact-based logic. One simple phone call saves your dad's life."
A 2005 Psychological Thriller starring Rachel McAdams and Cillian Murphy, and directed by Wes Craven.Mild-mannered hotel manager Lisa Reisert, on her way home from her grandmother's funeral, is seated for an overnight flight next to charming, affable JacksonRippner. Over the course of the flight, Rippner reveals himself to be a Psycho for Hire acutely interested in Lisa's career... especially with the Secretary of Homeland Security (and his family) staying at her hotel. Trapped in close proximity to Rippner and informed that one of his associates is holding her father (Brian Cox) hostage, Lisa attempts to keep her father safe and stop Rippner's assassination plot.Not to be confused with the Korean horror movie of the same name, released in the same year, or the conservative News Parody/Faux News show Red Eye With Greg Gutfeld.
Tropes found in this film include:
Abhorrent Admirer: The blond woman who flirts with Rippner on the plane. She's not necessarily unattractive, but Rippner ignores her in favor of Lisa.
In a sense, Rippner is an odd form of this for Lisa. She's initially attracted to him, but as he reveals himself to be a cold-hearted killer, she naturally becomes repelled by him. He still seems genuinely interested in her, though.
Action Survivor: Lisa has no formal training of any kind, but still manages to do things that most normal people could conceivably do, like stabbing Rippner in the throat with a pen, going to town on him with a field hockey stick, and kicking him down the stairs. What's impressive is her grit and bravery, rather than any kind of exceptional ability.
Beneath the Mask: Rippner is charming when he wants to be, but the entire thing is a charade and not his real self. Once he reveals what a bad person he is, he doesn't bother to maintain the facade around Lisa, and it's completely gone by the end.
The first time Lisa makes an attempt to foil Rippner's plans, he headbutts her, knocking her out cold.
Rippner makes the claim that he "neverlies" and takes the fact that Lisa lied and ordered a Bay Breeze instead of her preferred Sea Breeze a lot harder than most people would.
Beware the Nice Ones: Lisa is a relatively mild-mannered and all around decent person. Endangering her father is not a good thing to do. Likewise, Rippner is introduced similarly, but he is soon revealed to be not such a nice guy to begin with.
BFG: The rocket launcher used in the assassination attempt.
Rippner claims that he has never lied to Lisa, and he expects Lisa to never lie to him in return, as it would not serve either of them. Lisa lies about her Drink Order (before realizing he's evil, and mostly just because he's coming on a bit too strong) and later attempts to thwart his plans twice through dishonesty (lying about writing in the self-help book, pretending to still talk on the phone when the phone lines die out, and then writing a message in the lavatory to try and expose Rippner's plans); with time running out, it boils down to him choking her for it. By the end of the film, he tries to kill her for ruining his plans.
Broken Heel: So Lisa stabs Rippner with it. Because she's a badass.
The Cameo: Several background characters were played by members of the filming crew.
Car Fu: Lisa hits one of her dad's assassins with a truck and sends him flying through the front door.
Character Development: Lisa starts off as a mild-mannered, young woman, who gradually grows intimidated by Rippner's threats, has her past as a survivor of a violent sexual assault used against her, and even briefly gives into Rippner's plans; however, when push turns to shove and through sheer willpower, Lisa manages to overthrow Rippner's plans while becoming a more confident and determined person towards the end.
Early scenes in her fathers home show pictures of Lisa playing field hockey; her field hockey stick and swinging ability come up in the climax.
The very distinct pen, seen belonging to one of the two teenage boys on the plane and is given a few close-ups on, is later the Improvised Weapon Lisa uses to stab Rippner in the neck after a conversation between the two teenagers reveals that it's missing.
The assassin's silenced pistol.
The Chessmaster: Rippner explains that he, like Lisa, is in "management." His job is not to assassinate anyone or shoot anyone; it is to orchestrate everything so everybody else can do the shooting.
Creepy Blue Eyes: Jackson Rippner. Sure, they may just be Cillian Murphy's normal eyes, but they are creepy. They are also, together with his impeccable Fake American accent, the feature that won Wes Craven over.
Deal with the Devil: Constantly, Wes Craven uses the words "selling his/her soul" in the commentary concerning both Rippner and Lisa and that somewhere along the line, they are Not So Different. Rippner "sold his soul" by being in whatever terrorist assassin organization he is in, and he realizes there is absolutely no way he could ever be with someone like Lisa in his line of work. He is aware of the horrible things he has allowing to happen (the assassination of Keefe and his family) and seems genuinely a little uncomfortable with them, but it does not stop him from doing his job because his life is on the line too. Lisa "sells her soul" by inevitably cooperating with Rippner on changing the hotel rooms for the Keefes, but unlike Rippner, she manages to "buy back her soul" by fighting back against Rippner and his plans.
Determinator: Both the main leads display this. Lisa inevitably becomes this to save both her father and the Keefes from Rippner's assassination plot. Simultaneously, Rippner becomes obsessively determined to kill Lisa once his plans are foiled by the end of the film.
Drink Order: Rippner pretends to analyze Lisa's personality at the airport bar to come up with a prediction of her order. In reality, Rippner has been stalking her for weeks gathering information—he already knows her drink order and is trying to be charming. Lisa instead orders something else (a drink that she does not even like), which is the first hint at her upcoming rebellion.
Embarrassing Middle Name: While they are at the bar and Rippner reveals his Meaningful Name, Lisa tries to make him feel better by mentioning that her middle name is Henrietta, which was her late grandmother's name.
Emotions vs. Stoicism: The film plays this in a fairly interesting fashion. Rippner is firm in his belief of stoicism over emotions, but in the end, The Stoic Rippner becomes Not So Stoic and lets his emotions get in the way and causes him to act unprofessionally, while it is Lisa who becomes in control of her emotions and is able to regain control of the situation.
Where's your male-driven facts-based logic now, Jack?
The End... Or Is It?: The extended version of the film shows Rippner being taken to an ambulance and is very much alive.
Lisa is first seen talking on the phone with Cynthia and her father and is shown to be very firm and in control of her life (and her similar movements as her father, as they are both walking around in the scene, shows just where she gets it from).
Depending how it is interpreted, Rippner has several, but a key moment in particular is when he defends Lisa from the irate passenger in the check-in line. The audience gets their first glimpse of the suave character who's been standing behind Lisa for quite some time. While it appears his actions will lead to a Rescue Romance/Samaritan Relationship Starter with Lisa, a brief close-up of Rippner's intimidating blue eyes staring down the irate passenger is an indicator to the audience that something is off about him.
Evil Counterpart: In some ways, Rippner is this to Lisa. They are both revealed to be Not So Different—being "managers" of their particular profession that involves a lot of call-making, are fairly professional, needing to be in control, and are involved in a morally ambiguous situation that risks both of their lives.
Extremely Short Timespan: Factoring in the in-story time that was spent in the airport, the time on the flight, and the chase scene at the end, we can estimate that the story takes place over four very hectic hours.
Fanservice: Averted. When Lisa enters the bathroom to change her shirt after iced coffee is spilled on it, instead of showing off her attributes, the camera focuses on her plot-relevant scar.
Fate Drives Us Together: Lisa and Rippner meet three times in the beginning of the film—in the check-in line, at the airport bar, and at their flight seatings. Of course, Rippner more or less planned this (the less being Rippner probably did not expect Lisa to join him for drinks after she previously declined his offer).
First Name Basis: Rippner casually calls Lisa by her first name or "Leese" in spite of the little time that they know each other, while Lisa rarely uses Rippner's name, only using it when he introduces himself and later when she's goading him in the climax by calling him, "Jack".
Forced to Watch: Inverted. When Rippner faces Lisa in their final confrontation, Rippner tells Lisa that he is going to make her father watch what he's going to do to her (instead of the hero/heroine watching a loved one get harmed). Whatever he was planning on doing, it is averted in the end.
Grey and Gray Morality: Wes Craven wanted to show that the protagonist and antagonist were not completely good or evil; the heroine is placed in a morally ambiguous situation where her morals are tested, while the villain—who is involved in an assassination and terrorism—is shown to be conflicted with his actions and his complex attraction to the heroine.
Wes Craven: [in an interview] I'm always fascinated by the flip-flopping of things so the good people don't always wind up totally good at all and have real flaws, and the bad people turn out to not be just monsters but they also have vulnerabilities. Wes Craven: [in another interview] With Cillian, you have no restrictions about [expression], so you can put all these nuances of "I want this guy to actually be in love with this woman in a way, even if he doesn't realize it." One moment, he's totally threatened by her and just wants her to do what he tells her to do, and the next minute, he's trying to convince her that he's the most honest person she'll ever meet, and the next minute, he's so furious, he's going to kill her. And it was these wonderful complexities that you put into this kind of drama that were part of the meat for me, and a welcome change.
Heroic BSOD: The lavatory scene was Lisa's moment of defeat. It is only when Rippner says "thank for the quickie" that he unintentionally brings back Lisa's determination to stop him by invoking the memory of her rape, which she promised herself she would never let happen again. The moment when Rippner gets scolded by the Older Flight Attendant while leaving the lavatory is when Lisa is (off-screen) getting the pen she will stab Rippner with.
Heroic Bystander: Rebecca, the little girl sitting in front of Lisa and Rippner (and the only person on the plane who realizes that something is wrong with the two of them), gets her chance to be one towards the end of the film. After Lisa stabs Rippner in the throat with a pen and starts to make a run for it, Rippner leaps up to follow her. Rebecca pushes her suitcase into the aisle, sending him spiraling to the ground. The temporary diversion buys Lisa some extra time to escape, and you have to admit that a little girl standing up to a professional killer is pretty heroic.
I Have You Now, My Pretty: Rippner's pursuit of Lisa starts out feeling like sexual tension and later is deliberately intended to violently evoke memories of her past with a sexual assault, intended to make her feel helpless.
I Just Want to Be Normal: Craven reveals in the commentary that Rippner secretly desires normality in his life beyond his shady dealings, which includes his attraction towards Lisa, who he knows is someone he can never have in his life.
The whole plot sets up the fact that the coincidental Meet Cute wasn't such a coincidence, and the amiable man in question isn't so amiable.
Rippner is a little more than misogynistic with Lisa and her "emotion-based dilemma," but by the end of the film, it is Rippner who lets his emotions get in the way; in a fit of vengeance he follows Lisa to her house to finish the job, not realizing that the unfamiliar environment would be at his disadvantage.
Improvised Weapon: There are several improvised weaponry used in the film (two chairs, a vase, a fire extinguisher, a plate, a Broken Heel, a field hockey stick), but the most memorable weapon was a pen.
I Never Told You My Name: An uncharacteristically subtle version early on. The villain ends up saying the name of the heroine's father in a conversation with her, and she doesn't notice that he just said a name that she never told him. Probably a good many people in the audience didn't either.
Just Between You and Me: Rippner does this whenever he thinks he has control of the situation and of Lisa. And when he does not, well...
Last-Second Chance: Lisa attempts to dissuade Rippner from continuing with his assassination plot. It fails.
Like an Old Married Couple: Lampshaded by Word of God in the commentary of the film that the close up encounters between Lisa and Rippner almost resemble that of an intimate couple having a hushed spat that they do not want to have in public, giving off this weird but underlying chemistry presented in the film. A key example is when Lisa reminds Rippner to call off the gunman in front of her father's house.
Lima Syndrome: Rippner's "affection" for Lisa can be seen as this, though it's subverted as he had watched her for eight weeks and developed feelings prior to taking her "hostage" on their flight.
Locked in a Room: Literally. Both in their flight seatings to the lavatory scene. Subverted in that neither of them find an appreciation for each other. Sure, Rippner is equally growing impressed and frustrated with Lisa (this changes after the Villainous Breakdown), but Lisa certainly grows to loathe Rippner once his true character is revealed.
Rippner: Now I've known you for a while now, Lisa, before tonight, I mean. As far as I can tell, your life revolves around your job, the occasional cocktail at the corner cafe, the classic late night movies, oh, and scrambled eggs at 3AM. What turned you into such a loner? Is it your parents' divorce? Wait, did someone break your heart?
Love Makes You Evil: Never mind that he was evil to begin with (as far as we know), but the realization that he will never have someone like Lisa in his life, and that his plans are deteriorating because of her, does send Rippner overtheedge.
Male Gaze: Rippner has one in the lavatory scene, but he's not checking Lisa out. He's looking at her scar.
Morality Pet: Averted. In spite of Lisa's attempts to dissuade Rippner from his assassination plot and his inner conflict with Lisa and the whole ordeal, Rippner continues with his job, showing little (if any) remorse.
Never Trust a Trailer: Invoked, where the first half of the ad makes it look like a romantic comedy, complete with touching ballad. Of course that same ad also plays it straight by randomly having Rippner's eyes actually turn red maliciously, it gave an implication that it would be a supernatural horror flick. In fact, the movie really plays up the blueness of his eyes.
No Name Given: According to Wes Craven in an interview, "Jackson Rippner" is not even Rippner's real name and is a pseudonym. He apparently made it up after seeing the "J.R." initials on Lisa's father's wallet.
Not Now, Kiddo: Rebecca, the little girl flying alone, actually overhears Rippner threatening Lisa in the lavatory. Unfortunately, when she tries to tell the flight attendant, the woman takes it the wrong way.
Rebecca: A man went in there. Young Flight Attendant: Everyone shares the same ones. Here, I'll take you to one closer to your seat. Rebecca: But a lady's in there, too. Young Flight Attendant: OK, one of those flights.
One Last Job: This job was implied to be Rippner's last one with his employers.
Opposites Attract: Word of God mentions in the commentary that a part of Rippner's attraction to Lisa stems from the fact that he can never be with something like her due to his job and his revealed true colors causing Lisa to hate him.
Pet the Dog: Rippner surprisingly has a few concerning Lisa. When he headbutts Lisa, the first thing Rippner does is fix Lisa's hair and gently rest her head against her seat before tending to himself. In the lavatory scene, he expresses concern over the scar and who gave her it, and according to Word of God, Rippner's "that it was out of your control" line was "something a friend would say to a friend" and it had "a friendly, compassionate undertone to it."
Plot-Sensitive Snooping Skills: Rippner has watched Lisa for eight weeks, but during his first few conversations with her, he realizes she has a secret he doesn't know and wants to know just what it is. Before The Reveal, Rippner even stumbles upon the secret quite a number of times without realizing it by asking if Lisa's father had any reason to be worried about her and later asking her if someone broke her heart. It is only during the lavatory scene that Rippner catches a glimpse of Lisa's scar and figures out her secret.
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: Lisa delivers one to Rippner in their final confrontation by telling him that his plans have failed, Keefe and his family (as well as her father) are safe, and that he has lost. She even uses an Ironic Echo and his infamous nickname "Jack." Rippner is not pleased.
Revenge Before Reason: After Lisa stabbed Rippner with a pen and escapes him, Rippner unprofessionally followed Lisa to her home in a fit of revenge for the "betrayal" and humiliation instead of professionally slipping into the shadows like he should have done.
Sadistic Choice: If Lisa helps Rippner, she would be associated in the assassination of the Secretary of Homeland Security and his family. If Lisa does not help Rippner, he will give his employers the signal to murder her father. She eventually takes a third option.
Samaritan Relationship Starter/Single Woman Seeks Good Man: This is not something Lisa had done for two years (thanks in part to her Broken Bird past), but she decides takes a chance with the seemingly nice guy who helped her out in line earlier and meets him at a bar. Coincidently, they even sit next to each other. Their interactions go swimmingly until their flight takes off, and she discovers that he is not so nice.
Lisa: That wasn't very nice of your parents. Rippner: No, no. That's what I told them... before I killed them.
Self-Made Orphan: One of Rippner's many "jokes" early on that he killed his parents for naming him "Jackson Rippner," so if it's true as he said that he never lied to her, this trope is in play.
Sequel Hook: In the extended cut of the film, Rippner is shown in an ambulance and is very much alive.
Shown Their Work: After the stabbing, Rippner recovers remarkably quickly with relatively little loss of blood. Lisa's attack mimics almost perfectly a real world impromptu tracheotomy method, right down to the Weapon of Choice.
Stalker with a Crush: Confirmed by Word of God in the commentary, Rippner did develop feelings for Lisa over the eight weeks he had to watch her. Not healthy feelings, but feelings nevertheless. The eerie thing is Rippner lampshaded this earlier in the film as a joke:
Rippner: Wait a minute... You're not stalking me, are you? Lisa: No... [beat] [Lisa and Rippner laugh]
The Stoic: Rippner, who prefers—and even seems to take pride in—his professionalism and "male-driven fact-based logic." However, he turns Not So Stoic quite a number of times: Rippner gradually grows testy each time the call to the hotel gets prevented, headbutting Lisa when she first attempts to thwart his plans, and then he later threatens and chokes Lisa in the lavatory when she attempts again to get him caught. Finally, he lets his emotions take hold once Lisa escapes him, and from then on, his only concern is killing her.
Subtext: Rippner's attraction to Lisa is subtle and not too noticeable, but it's confirmed by Craven, who goes in detail about it in the commentary.
Terrorists Without a Cause/Western Terrorists: Rippner's employers. They speak Russian amongst themselves, but we never find out what they are about. In contrast, Rippner's character was specifically written as an American.
Use Your Head: Rippner headbutts Lisa after her first attempt at sabotaging his plans. She later returns the favor.
Vader Breath: Rippner after Lisa stabs him in the throat with a pen. He pulls it out and keeps on truckin'.
Villainous Breakdown: Even with the situation deteriorating, Rippner manages to be suave and intimidating. But when Lisa stabs him in the throat with a pen and escapes, all bets are off. Clearly displayed in their final battle. At this point, Rippner has almost no control over the situation and had unprofessionally followed Lisa to her home, forgetting the crucial fact that she basically has the upper hand.
Villains Never Lie/Will Not Tell a Lie: Rippner is very clear that he has not lied to Lisa even once despite the hostile situation, and he is hurt that she does lie to him. However, he is in fact lying when he says this; he tells at least one lie to Lisa on the plane, which puts his entire not-lying status in question. Also, see No Name Given.
Lisa thanks Rippner for distracting her from the turbulence by asking her questions. Subverted, as it was never Rippner's intention to distract Lisa; he merely wanted to keep the focus on Lisa and her father.
As Lisa waits for the seat belt sign to go off before she tries to escape, she distracts Rippner with the story of how she got her scar.
Would Hit a Girl: Rippner, who is quite violent with Lisa throughout the film. He headbutts Lisa, nearly strangles her, and later tries to kill her when his plans fail. He is also willing to turn the other cheek on the fact that Keefe's assassination includes his wife and children as well.
Yandere: Rippner, who zigzags between being seemingly sweet and violently sinister with Lisa. At the climax of the film, Rippner unprofessionally chases after Lisa from the airport terminal to her own house out of blind rageand vengeance at her escaping him. When he learns that his plans have been foiled, it only sets in stone his desire to "finish the job" and kill her.