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Red Eye is a 2005 American thriller film directed by Wes Craven and starring Rachel McAdams as a hotel manager ensnared in an assassination plot by a terrorist (Cillian Murphy) while aboard a red-eye flight to Miami.


After attending her grandmother's funeral in Dallas, Texas, Lisa Reisert (Rachel McAdams) takes a red-eye flight to Miami, Florida. While in the check-in line she meets Jackson Rippner (Cillian Murphy), who is boarding her plane. After their flight is delayed due to weather, Lisa meets Jackson again in an airport bar. When boarding, Lisa discovers to her surprise that Jackson is seated beside her.

After take off, Jackson reveals that he is a terrorist operative working for a group who intends to assassinate the United States Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Charles Keefe (Jack Scalia) and his family. Lisa is instrumental in their plans because of her job as Acting Manager at the Lux Atlantic Hotel where the Keefe family is staying. The assassination plan is to use a portable missile launcher from a boat in a nearby harbor and fire it at the hotel. In order for this to work, Jackson must force Lisa to make a phone call from the in-flight phone and order the hotel staff to change Keefe's reservation to a suite facing the harbor. If she refuses to cooperate, he will deploy a hitman to kill her father, Joe (Brian Cox), at his home in Miami.

Lisa attempts to find a way to keep both her father and Keefe safe. When she first places a call to the hotel, answered by her co-worker, Cynthia (Jayma Mays), the line goes dead midway through the conversation, and Lisa tries (unsuccessfully) to fool Jackson into thinking she is still ordering the room change, but Jackson catches on. She then makes two unsuccessful tries to alert the other passengers to the danger. She first attempts to write a warning in a book, when the old lady from the check-in line she met and gave the book to comes to talk to her about it, but Jackson head-butts her unconscious and manages to get the book back before the woman sees the message. She tries again when the airphones go out due to the storms. Lisa goes to the rest room, and writes a warning in soap on the mirror, but Jackson confronts her and sees the writing on the mirror, and forces Lisa back inside. When Lisa begs him not to kill her father, Jackson simply responds by telling her she should stop gambling with his life. He then notices a scar above Lisa's breast, and asks her if someone did that to her. When she tells him no, he believes that she is lying and briefly chokes her before wiping away the message.

When Lisa and Jackson return to their seats, Lisa makes the phone call, and the hotel staff move the politician to the targeted suite. After the call, she asks Jackson to call off the man outside her father's house, but he refuses until he has confirmation of the assassination.

As the plane lands, Lisa confesses that the knife scar was from a violent rape she suffered two years ago, which she swore she would never let happen again. She then stabs Jackson in the throat with a pen that she stole from another passenger, then takes his phone and flees the plane and terminal, narrowly escaping both Jackson and airport security. A little girl who is a passenger saw the whole thing and helps Lisa escape by pushing a suit case into Jackson's way, causing him to fall. Once outside, Lisa steals a nearby SUV. Noticing that the phone has a low-battery warning and could die at any time, she once again calls the hotel, alerting Cynthia to the danger. Cynthia pulls the fire alarm to evacuate the building and rushes to warn Keefe and his family, who are in the targeted suite. Cynthia, the Keefes and U.S. Secret Service agents manage to escape from the room seconds before a Javelin missile hits.

Lisa, still driving, tries to call her father, but the cell phone's battery dies. She rushes to her father's house, arriving to find the hitman outside his door, and kills him with the car. Lisa finds her father inside, and he tells her that he has called the police because of the car crash. While Lisa phones the hotel to check that everyone is all right, Jackson arrives and knocks her father unconscious. He chases her through the house with a knife and they fight until Jackson manages to throw Lisa down a flight of stairs. Lisa retrieves the dead hitman's gun from the floor and threatens Jackson with it. He attempts to escape, but Lisa shoots him before he can. He disarms and attacks her, only to be shot by Lisa's father as the police arrive.

Later at the hotel, Keefe and the Secret Service thank Lisa and Cynthia for saving him and his family from the assassination.


  • Rachel McAdams as Lisa Reisert
  • Cillian Murphy as Jackson Rippner
  • Brian Cox as Joseph "Joe" Reisert
  • Jayma Mays as Cynthia
  • Jack Scalia as Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Charles "Charlie" Keefe
  • Colby Donaldson as Head Secret Service Agent
  • Robert Pine and Teresa Press-Marx as Bob and Marianne Taylor
  • Angela Paton as Nice lady
  • Laura Johnson as Blonde woman
  • Loren Lester as Irate passenger
  • Max Kasch as Headphone kid
  • Kyle Gallner as Headphone kid's brother
  • Brittany Oaks as Rebecca
  • Wes Craven, Marianne Maddalena, Carl Ellsworth, and Chris Bender (uncredited) as Airline passengers


Critical response[]

Red Eye received generally positive reviews, garnering a score of 79% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 186 critics with an average rating of 6.7/10. The site's consensus states, "With solid performances and tight direction from Wes Craven, Red Eye is a brisk, economic thriller." [1] On Metacritic, the film received a weighted score of 71% based on 36 reviews which indicate generally favorable reviews.[2]

Peter Travers of Rolling Stones gave the film a 3.5/4 stars calling it the "best thriller of summer 2005" and a "gripping suspense [that] will pin you to your seat".[3]

Roger Ebert commended the film, calling it a "good thriller" that moves "competently [and] relentlessly". He praised Craven for making the film "function so smoothly" and "doing exactly what it was intended to do". Ebert also expressed admiration to the performances of McAdams and Murphy, stating that they are "very effective together". He said that McAdams is "so convincing because she keeps [her performance] at ground level" and "she remains plausible even when the action ratchets up around her". He also complimented Murphy for his "ability to modulate his character instead of gnashing the scenery". He gave the film 3/4 stars.[4]

Manohla Dargis of the The New York Times called the film a "nifty, tense thriller" and said that the casting of the two leads is "a nice surprise". She said that Murphy is "a picture-perfect villain" and McAdams has a "depth of intensity" that is uncommon.[5]

USA Today film critic Claudia Puig said the film is "fun to watch because of the strong performances". She praised McAdams for blending "vulnerability and courage" to her performance and called Murphy "menacing". While she mentioned that the film is "tense, smart, and nerve-wracking" and "entertaining and scary" on the first hour, she criticizes the film for going "downhill" and becoming a "by-the-book action flick".[6]

Variety's Robert Koehler stated that "Red Eye relies on hoodwinking an audience with its tension, so that the sheer illogic of the conspiracy plot can slip by without detection" but complimented McAdams for finding "new and interesting ways of silently projecting fear".[7]

Wesley Morris of Boston Globe felt the film was like a "poor cousin of an episode of 24. Call it 12."[8]

Box office[]

The film grossed $57,891,803 domestically, doubling the estimated $26 million budget. Internationally the film also grossed an additional $37,685,971, making its total to $95,577,774.[9] Red Eye also proved to be a hit with rentals, grossing an additional $49,620,000.[10]

  1. Red Eye Movie Reviews, Pictures. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2010-11-23.
  2. Red Eye Reviews, Ratings, Credits. Metacritic Retrieved 2010-11-23.
  3. Template:Cite web
  4. http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/red-eye-2005
  5. Template:Cite web
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  9. Red Eye (2005). Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2010-11-23.
  10. Box office / business for 'Red Eye' (2005). IMDb. Retrieved 2010-11-23.