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  • Alternate Character Interpretation/Base Breaker: Rippner, mainly because of his Draco in Leather Pants/Mr. Fanservice status (and the fact that he has no back story and his actions can easily be interpreted in various ways). Some fans consider Rippner a misunderstood Anti-Villain who was just doing his job and had genuine feelings for Lisa, but others think of him as a Psycho for Hire. Then there are some who even think Rippner was a cold-hearted and ruthless assassin who never cared an ounce about Lisa and was only using Lisa's past against her to mess with her mind.
  • Complete Monster: Jackson Rippner is an unscrupulous contractor hiring himself out to terrorist networks to assist in toppling governments and high-profile assassinations. He uses his skills of manipulation instead of weapons because he's much better at it. His latest target is a renowned US official, whom he plans to blow up along with his wife and children because his bosses wanted to send a message. He needs Lisa, a Miami hotel manager, to change the official's room on her authority to make the kills possible. He stalks Lisa for weeks to learn everything about her, then arranges to be on the same red eye flight with her and gain her confidence initially. He threatens to have his associate kill her retired father if she doesn't make the call, torturing her mentally and assaulting her. When she foils his plan, he goes to kill her father anyway instead of escape to make good on his threat, and tries to murder Lisa. On top of that, he's also a misogynist, and casually notes he killed his own parents when asked about the subject.
  • Cult Classic: The fandom is small, but quite devoted.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Rippner. Not surprising, since he's played by Cillian Murphy.
  • Ending Fatigue: Several viewers didn't like the third part of the film because it mimicked the typical Knife Nut villain often seen in Wes Craven films, while others did not like the ending at the hotel because they found it unnecessary and odd that it ended with Lisa returning to the hotel right after a threatening ordeal like nothing happened and without getting questioned by the police.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: The little girl that manages to keep a cool head at a crucial moment and trip Rippner, which, in hindsight, probably saved Lisa's life.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Lisa and Rippner, in spite of all the attempted murder on both sides as well as the intense chemistry between Rachel McAdams and Cillian Murphy, especially during the lavatory scene.
  • Foe Yay
  • Harsher in Hindsight: "Wait, did someone break your heart?"
  • Idiot Plot: Some people feel this way about the assassination plot.
  • Mind Game Ship: Rippner's and Lisa's "relationship" is practically built on this, what with the film revolving around the psychological mind play between them.
  • Misaimed Fandom: The main cause of it being Draco in Leather Pants. See Alternate Character Interpretation.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Rippner more than likely crossed it a long time ago as this seemingly is not the first time he has been a part of assassination and terrorism plots, and he mentions the Keefe assassination is his last job, but viewers are divided between which of his actions shown were worse—strangling Lisa in the lavatory, knowing that Keefe's family will get killed in the assassination and willingly allowing it to happen, or trying to kill Lisa in the end of the film.
  • Mondegreen: A common misinterpretation in the Fandom is Rippner's line in the lavatory. He says, "I never lied to you, Lis'." However, many mistakenly hear it as, "I never liked you, Lis'."
  • Narm: For those who found Rippner getting pissed over a sea breeze just a little humorous.
  • No Yay: Rippner and Lisa. Rippner is a Ax-Crazy murderer out to kill Lisa's father and other people and Lisa herself. There's some sexual tension between the two and the scene in the airplane bathroom where he accosts her was dripping with rape metaphors. Word of God also says that Rippner developed feelings for Lisa in the entire time he was watching her and that he was jealous of the man who gave Lisa her scar and raped her.
  • Padding: Not for the film itself, but for the end credits (which are artificially extended to make the film longer, which is why a movie that only runs 85 minutes has an end credit sequence that lasts for around nine).
  • Paranoia Fuel: Wes Craven played on the paranoia of flight: the isolation, claustrophobia, the feeling of being trapped, and sitting next to a complete stranger, not knowing who they are or what kind of person they are.
  • Signature Scene: The lavatory scene and when Lisa stabs Rippner in the neck with a pen.
  • What an Idiot:
    • Lisa running in heels. Though, it's justified, given there is a Psycho for Hire chasing after her.
    • Rippner unprofessionally following Lisa to her house, an unfamiliar environment where he would be at a disadvantage. Granted, he wasn't thinking straight due to being pissed because he just got stabbed in the windpipe with a pen, but one would think he would act more professionally and slip away into the shadows instead of letting his emotions get the better of him.
  • The Woobie: Lisa.

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