A man wakes up in the desert suffering from a gunshot wound to the head and no idea of who he is. Somehow, though, he knows of a conspiracy to assassinate the U.S. President in a small New Mexican town.
Trope examples from this film include:
- Amnesiac Dissonance: "Frank", the main character, tries to warn people about a plot against the President which he knows of since in fact he was one of three hitmen hired to kill him.
- Cassandra Truth: The Secret Service puts a man on hold who is reporting a threat to the President? It turns out that they were tracing his call, but they still don't believe him, with his addled state, and he doesn't know what the exact threat is. Also, the doctor speculates "Frank" is making it up from something he read or saw, given his amnesia.
- Flashback: Recurring and frequent ones occur with the main character, giving clues to his past.
- Heel Realization: "Frank" (actually Ryan) realizes near the end that he's one of three hitmen sent to kill the President. This unnerves him so much he considers suicide before pulling a HeelFace Turn, killing the string-puller and his fellow shooter to save the President before getting out of town.
- The Killer in Me: It turns out that "Frank" is one of the three men intending to kill the President whom he's been trying to stop. That's how he knows of the plot. Nonetheless, he ends up stopping it anyway.
- The Plan: The film centers on a plot to assassinate the President, one which was actually quite good, and could possibly work. First, they send three hitmen to the town of Blackpoint, New Mexico. Then, a fuel truck is tipped over (made to look like an accident), blocking the highway to force the Presidential motorcade into the town, with the hitmen waiting there.
- Professional Killer: Three of them are hired to kill the President in a small New Mexican town when he's diverted there. "Frank" is one of them, though he doesn't know that right away.
- Twist Ending: "Frank" is in fact one of three hitmen hired to kill the President, while "Chloe" is the undercover federal agent that shot him (and then another hitman) to prevent this, posing as his fiancee to find what he knows.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: It's never revealed whether Faye Dunaway's character is alone in masterminding the plot, while the motive and anyone else involved remain unknown, though it may be because of the President's views on illegal immigration, changing which possibly being why they tried to call it off by informing the Secret Service.
- Who Shot JFK?: The plot has allusions to conspiracy theories surrounding it. Frank rendezvouses with the other hitman in a movie theater, which some theorists believe is why Oswald went to one, as a meeting place; there are three hitmen to provide "triangulation of crossfire" as one theory has it, etc.