Red Eye (2005 American film)

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Red Eye
Red Eye poster.JPG
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Wes Craven
Produced by
Screenplay by Carl Ellsworth
Story by
  • Carl Ellsworth
  • Dan Foos
Music by Marco Beltrami
Cinematography Robert Yeoman
Edited by
  • BenderSpink
  • Craven-Maddalena Films
Distributed by DreamWorks Pictures
Release dates
  • August 19, 2005 (2005-08-19)
Running time
85 minutes[1]
Country United States
  • English
  • Russian
Budget $26 million[2]
Box office $95.6 million[2]

Red Eye is a 2005 American mystery thriller film directed by Wes Craven and written by Carl Ellsworth based on a story by Ellsworth and Dan Foos. The film follows a hotel manager ensnared in an assassination plot by a terrorist while aboard a red-eye flight to Miami. The film score was composed and conducted by Marco Beltrami, a frequent collaborator with Craven, who had previously scored the Scream film series. It was distributed by DreamWorks Pictures and was released on August 19, 2005. The film received positive reviews from critics and fans of Craven's work and was a box office success.


Lisa Reisert (Rachel McAdams) arrives at the airport to take a red-eye flight from Texas back to Miami after attending her grandmother's funeral. While waiting in the check-in line, she meets Jackson Rippner (Cillian Murphy), who is boarding the same plane. After their flight is delayed due to bad weather concerns, they meet again at an airport bar and engage in small talk while they wait. When boarding, Lisa discovers to her surprise that Jackson is seated beside her.

Soon 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 (Angela Paton) from the check-in line she met and gave the book to comes to talk to her about it, but Jackson knocks 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 restroom, 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 from the plane saw the whole thing and helps Lisa escape by pushing a suitcase 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 and is about to kill her when Lisa's father takes a gun and shoots Jackson in the chest, puncturing his lung where he then bleeds to death.

Later at the hotel, Keefe and the Secret Service thank Lisa and Cynthia for saving him and his family from the assassination. Bob and Marianne Taylor, two of the visitors at the hotel confront Lisa and Cynthia and angrily complain about their stay. Lisa tells them to fill out a comment card at the front desk, and then tells them to shove it up their ass.



Box office[edit]

Red Eye opened theatrically on August 19, 2005 in 3,079 venues, earning $16,167,662 in its opening weekend, ranking second in the domestic box office behind The 40-Year-Old Virgin ($21,422,815).[3] At the end of its run, eight weeks later (on October 13), the film grossed $57,891,803 in the United States and Canada, and $37,685,971 overseas for a worldwide total of $95,577,774. Based on a $26 million budget, the film was a box office success.[2]

Critical response[edit]

The film received generally positive reviews from critics, garnering a 79% "fresh" rating 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." [4] On Metacritic, the film received a weighted score of 71 out of 100, based on 36 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[5]

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".[6]

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.[7]

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.[8]

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".[9]

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".[10]

Wesley Morris of Boston Globe felt the film was like a "poor cousin of an episode of 24. Call it 12."[11]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Award Category Name Outcome
Golden Trailer Awards Best Thriller Nominated
Irish Film and Television Awards Best Actor in a Feature Film Cillian Murphy Nominated
MTV Movie Awards Best Performance Rachel McAdams Nominated
Saturn Awards Best Action/Adventure/Thriller Film Nominated
Best Actress Rachel McAdams Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Cillian Murphy Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Movies - Choice Thriller Won
Movie - Choice Scream Rachel McAdams Nominated
Choice Sleazebag Cillian Murphy Nominated


  1. ^ "RED EYE (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. August 10, 2005. Retrieved November 26, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c "Red Eye (2005)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. October 14, 2005. Retrieved November 26, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for August 19-21, 2005". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. August 22, 2005. Retrieved November 26, 2015. 
  4. ^ Red Eye Movie Reviews, Pictures. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2010-11-23.
  5. ^ Red Eye Reviews, Ratings, Credits. Metacritic Retrieved 2010-11-23.
  6. ^ Travers, Peter. "Red Eye". Rolling Stones. Retrieved 28 February 2014. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ Dargis, Manohla. "Sticking Out a Tense Flight With a Terrorist as Seatmate". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 February 2014. 
  9. ^ Puig, Claudia. "'Red Eye' just creeps right along". USA Today. Retrieved 28 February 2014. 
  10. ^ Koehler, Robert. "Review: ‘Red Eye’". Variety. Retrieved 28 February 2014. 
  11. ^ Morris, Wesley. "Improbable 'Red Eye' never gets off the ground". Boston Globe. Retrieved 28 February 2014. 

External links[edit]