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Film: RED EYE
A key exchange in Red Eye occurs at the airport bar. The film is still masquerading as a romantic comedy at this point. Jack (Cillian Murphy) is the provocateur, pursuing Lisa (Rachel McAdams) with an abundance of charm.
He offers to buy her a drink. She remains unsure. She's skeptical of him. He makes her an offer. She doesn't have to have a drink, unless he can guess her drink. She's intrigued...
"Cosmo? [Lisa makes a face] No that'd be too common. Screwdriver? [Lisa makes another face]. No. No. That'd be too boring. So that leaves me with the simplicity of the grapefruit or the complexity of the pineapple. [Lisa looks intrigued, like he's on to something]. Grapefruit, sea breeze."
The bartender happens to walk up at this point. Lisa looks at him and goes: "Uh, could I have a bay breeze."
Let's analyze this.
Grapefruit = simple = sea breeze.
Pineapple = complex = bay breeze.
THE MAN proposes THE GIRL will have a sea breeze because he's been stalking her for 8 weeks and knows that she orders sea breezes. But she orders a bay breeze.
As we see later in the movie, during the confrontation in the airplane lavatory: "I don't think you're such an honest person because I followed you for eight weeks and I never once saw you order anything but a fucking sea breeze."
There are a couple ways to read this information.
Craven has a track record of having female leads face-off against villainous male protagonists. Last House on the Left, Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream.
In Red Eye he foregrounds this masculine-feminine conflict.
Jack defends Lisa in the check-in line against the angry passenger who Lisa had tried to talk down but who snaps at her. Jack charms a reticent Lisa at the airport bar. In the first moments they're seated on the plane, he seemingly wins her over. The restraint she showed at the bar seems to crumble a little. THE MAN is drawing THE GIRL to him.
But then Jack goes wild. He introduces the main tension of the plot. The romantic pretense is dropped, but THE MAN is still exerting power over THE GIRL. She's going to do what he wants. Everything she says he has a quick answer for. Every attempt she makes to outsmart him, he figures out.
Then there's the bathroom confrontation. Jack discovers Lisa's message "18F Has Bomb" (something like that). He attacks her. Threatens her. And we have this interesting moment where he goes from matter-of-fact jerk to...caring? He notices the scar on Lisa's breast. He asks her if this is the reason she's so guarded? And there seems to be genuine concern on his face. He is attracted to Lisa. He's stalked her for eight weeks. He's made a connection to her. And here he thinks they have some sort of...rapport. When she says "No" he freaks out, slams her into the wall. "I don't think you're such an honest person because I followed you for eight weeks and I never once saw you order anything but a fucking sea breeze."
I repeat the statement to make this point. Jack thinks of this as a simple situation. He thinks he knows Lisa. That he has the situation in control. That he's the smooth-operator. The Manager. THE MAN. At one point, he says to her: "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." He sees Lisa as a Sea Breeze. As a simple situation. As a girl he can manipulate and force to do what he wants.
Not the case.
Lisa will establish her independence. She hints at it by ordering the bay breeze in spite of Jack's correct "guess". The action is important, but the metaphor is too. The bay breeze stands for complexity. By choosing that drink, she's announcing she's not so simple.
In the airplane sequence, Lisa wavers between simple and complex, never really committing to either. She attempts to appease Jack the same way she appeases her dad and the grumpy customers, the angry guy in line, the elderly woman interested in the Dr. Phil book, the woman who spills iced coffee on her. But she makes attempts to thwart Jack: she writes the message in the book; when she's on the phone with Cynthia (Jayma Mays) attempting to change Keefe's (Scalia) room and the phone connection is lost, she continues speaking as though nothing has happened and hopes Jack will believe the fake conversation is real; she writes the mirror message about the bomb. Jack catches her every time. He's aware she'll try to seek help, is watching for it.
But he never expects the pen to the throat. That level of violence. Never sees it coming.
Because the book message, the phone fake-out, and the mirror message were all passive rebellions: she's relying on other people to save her. Passivity is a stereotype of the THE GIRL. THE GIRL isn't strong enough to actively rebel against THE MAN. Lisa is a fucking sea breeze. Not a bay breeze.
This idea of the female as simple dooms Jack.
Auteur theory proponent Andrew Sarris, writing for the New York Observer, said in his review of Red Eye.
The research for this angle led to Lim's article but also one by Shana Mlawski at Overthinking It. This is about feminism in cinema in general, specifically addressing, you guessed it, Michael Bay. And that article led to this one, by Matthew Belinkie, also of Overthinking It, looking at Christopher Nolan's use of women in his movies.
Red Eye is not a simple movie. And the sea breeze/bay breeze analogy we used to describe the LIsa character, Jack's view of Lisa, and the dynamic between Jack and Lisa, we can also apply to the film itself.
I'm not going to dissect individual shots. But Craven does a bunch of interesting things. There are tracking shots which mean the action going on around the characters is carefully choreographed. There are extended shots where the actors actually have to vary emotions during a single take (something we don't get too much of these days with cut-happy directors). The bathroom scene makes use of a near-first person perspective (from Lisa) of Jack. It's as though he's talking to us. And this bathroom scene is, arguably, the most important moment in the film.
Look at the structure of the film. Act 1 is romantic comedy. Act 2 is psychological thriller. Act 3 is action-suspense-thriller.
There's also something to be said about Craven's treatment of minor characters. People who seem irrelevant gain the attention of the camera. Some of these characters serve a purpose: the little girl trips Jack, the old woman presents a potential escape opportunity (with the book), the woman with the fancy nails and baggage problems presents Lisa with an opportunity by making Jack help her with a bag, the teenage kid's pen comes in handy. I think a lesser director, a more mainstream movie, would have only shown these characters once then had them take action. Intro/pay-off with nothing in-between. Craven shows us these minor characters again and again. The stewardesses. Keefe's security people. I just...I feel the world of the film is populated in a way other films aren't.
Red Eye works with and inverts a lot of common tropes. For example (this list comes from tvtropes.org):
- Abhorrent Admirer: The blond woman who flirts with Rippner on the plane. She is not necessarily unattractive, but Rippner ignores her in favor of Lisa.
- 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.
- Actor Allusion: Well, it's not the first time Cillian Murphy is directly threatened with a Hurling bat.
- Adrenaline Makeover
- An Offer You Can't Refuse
- Armor-Piercing Question: Rippner asks Lisa a few questions that unintentionally (before he realized The Reveal) and intentionally (after he realized The Reveal) break Lisa because they relate to her past.
- Badass in a Nice Suit
- 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 does not bother to maintain the facade around Lisa, and it is completely gone by the end.
- Berserk Button: For such a "professional," Rippner has a few:
- 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.
- Big Damn Heroes: Lisa's father is one in the end.
- Blue Eyes: Sure, they may just be Cillian Murphy's normal eyes, but they are creepy. They are also the feature that won Wes Craven over.
- Brutal Honesty/Beware The Honest Ones:
- 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 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.
- Which is interesting, because he technically does lie. The second time he gets a call about his job, he hangs up and makes the comment "Work. For the last time." He then spends the rest of the flight trying to make her make the call because it's his job.
- From a Certain Point of View. The assassination attempt on the Keefes was implied to be his last job.
- Body Motifs: Eyes, of course.
- Book Ends: The first and last lines of the movie are introduced in the hotel.
- Broken Bird: It is revealed that Lisa was raped.
- Broken Heel: She stabs him with it.
- Bumbling Dad: Lisa's dad is well-intentioned, but overprotective.
- The Cameo: Several background characters were played by members of the filming crew.
- Career Killer
- 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.
- Chase Scene
- Chekhov's Gun:
- 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 theImprovised Weapon Lisa uses to stab Rippner in the neck.
- 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.
- Dark and Troubled Past/Mysterious Past: Lisa's past is both until The Reveal. Rippner's past is the latter, as Lisa learns little about him.
- Deadpan Snarker: Rippner.
- 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), 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.
- Defiant to the End
- 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.
- Double Entendre:
- "Thanks for the quickie."
- 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.
- Earn Your Happy Ending
- 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.
- The End... Or Is It?: The extended version of the film shows Rippner being taken to an ambulance and is very well alive.
- Episode on a Plane
- Establishing Character Moment: The heroine and the villain each have a moment:
- 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.
- Evilly Affable: Rippner, at first.
- Exact Words/From a Certain Point of View: Rippner's double meanings prior to revealing his true nature, which is easier to tell on a second viewing.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The lead characters take a red eye flight.
- False Friend: Rippner.
- 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".
- Flaw Exploitation: Well, they are not a Mind Game Ship for nothing. Rippner uses Lisa's father to blackmail her and her Dark and Troubled Past to render her to a breaking point, but when Lisa later turns the table and uses Rippner's loss of control of the situation against him, it results in his Villainous Breakdown.
- Foe Yay: Lisa and Rippner, though Canon only on Rippner's part. Naturally, this leads to Foe Yay Shipping for the Fandom in Fan Fics, where Lisa is portrayed eventually reciprocating Rippner's feelings... and yes, Stockholm Shnozzing ensues.
- Foil: The Fettered Lisa and The Unfettered Jackson Rippner.
- Forced to Watch: Inverted. When Rippner faces Lisa in their final confrontation, Rippner tells Lisa that he is going to make her fatherwatch 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.
- Freeze Frame Bonus: Not exactly a bonus, but when Lisa stabs Rippner in the throat with the pen, it can still be seen in her hand after the fact.
- Genre Savvy: Lisa is Genre Savvy when she checks the shower. Turns out he is not there.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Word Of God says that Rippner was jealous of the man who gave Lisa her scar.
- 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.
- Hannibal Lecture
- Haunted Heroine: A non-supernatural equivalent in Lisa.
- Heroes Want Redheads: Well, the villain certainly does.
- Heroic BSOD: The lavatory scene was Lisa's moment of defeat. It is only when Rippner says "thank for the quickie" that heunintentionally brings back Lisa's determination to stop him. 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.
- Hero Stole My Bike: Or rather, Heroine Stole My Car.
- Hope Spot: Played with several times.
- 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 Have Your Dad
- 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.
- I Love You Because I Can't Control You/In Love with the Mark: Takes a few shades of this, but ultimately subverted as Rippner would much rather prefer if he was the one in control and the certain "affection" he develops for Lisa does not stop him from doing his job. SeeStalker with a Crush.
- 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.
- I Shall Taunt You
- Impending Doom P.O.V.
- Improvised Weapon: There are several improvised weaponry used in the film (headbutting, two chairs, a vase, a fire extinguisher, a plate, a Broken Heel, a field hockey stick), but the most memorable weapon was the 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.
- Insult Backfire:Older Flight Attendant: Excuse me, this isn't a motel.
- Ironic Echo/Meaningful Echo:Lisa: Where's your male-driven fact-based logic now, Jack?
- It's Personal
- 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:Rippner: What?
Lisa: You know what. My dad. Make the call. Your part of the deal.
[Rippner takes the phone and puts it on the reciever]
Rippner: I still need you.
Lisa: You promised.
Rippner: And I'll keep that promise...
- 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.
- Little Miss Badass: Rebecca, the little girl, having the presence of mind and quick thinking to trip Rippner up in the aisle as he was chasing Lisa.
- 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.
- Loners Are Freaks: Rippner reveals that Lisa is one in a rather creepy scene.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 over the edge.
- Male Gaze: Rippner has one in the lavatory scene, but he's not checking Lisa out. He's looking at her scar.
- Manipulative Bastard: Rippner.
- Meaningful Background Event: Rippner is introduced this way, standing quietly in line behind Lisa for a good amount of time before he reveals himself.
- Meaningful Name:
- Meet Cute: An engineered example.
- Mile-High Club: Did not really happen, but it sure looked like it to everyone else on the plane.
- Mood Whiplash: Lisa and Rippner start off light and flirty until Rippner reveals his not-so-friendly profession. See Never Trust a Trailer.
- 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 his eyes actually turn red maliciously, it gave an implication that it would be a supernatural/horror flick.
- 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.
- Not so Different
- Office Lady: Lisa is a much more competent Western version of one of these.
- Offscreen Teleportation: When Lisa is about to leave the lavatory, Rippner appears on the other side of the doorway.
- Once is Not Enough: Nicely averted.
- 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.
- Papa Wolf: Inverted and then played straight. Lisa gets serious to protect her dad's welfare, and then he embodies the trope when he comes to her rescue.
- Parents In Distress
- The Pen Is Mightier: Lisa stabs Rippner with a pen in order to escape the plane.
- 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."
- Playing Against Type: This is one of the only movies where Brian Cox plays an unambiguously nice man. This movie is also a bit of a shift for director Wes Craven, who is better known for out-and-out horror movies like The Hills Have Eyes and A Nightmare on Elm Street. This picture, by contrast, is more of a Hitchcockian psych thriller.
- 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.
- Plucky Girl
- Politically Incorrect Villain: As the title quote shows, Rippner is more than a little misogynistic.
- Pragmatic Villainy: Rippner starts off as this, preferring to be professional but is willing to rough Lisa up to put her in her place.
- Precision F-Strike:Rippner: I never once saw you order anything but a fucking Sea Breeze!
- Psycho for Hire
- Psychological Thriller
- Punch Clock Villain: Rippner, who is simply doing his job and has no personal grudge against Lisa, but his life beyond his job is unknown. However, when Rippner's job begins to break down, so does he.
- Punny Name/Unfortunate Names: Jackson Rippner. This gets lampshaded a few times.Rippner: No, no, I haven't gone by Jack since I was ten years old. Last name's Rippner.
Lisa: Jack Rippner. Jack... the... oh...
- Race Against the Clock
- Rape As Backstory: The result of the scar. Implied in the film and confirmed in the DVD Commentary:Wes Craven: This is a creepy moment here where [Rippner] reveals he's been watching [Lisa] for so long, and it's much longer than he would have needed to watch her as a professional. And he sort of accidentally stumbles very close to what her secret is by talking about first divorce and then talking about did somebody break her heart. And just watch what she does with her face here. It's amazing.
Rippner: Wait, did someone break your heart?
[Lisa lowers her head and closes her eyes]
Wes Craven: [voicing Lisa's thoughts] No, somebody raped me.
- "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.
- Red-Headed Heroine
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Lisa and Rippner, respectively.
- 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 humiliated 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.
- Sarcastic Confession: Among many, many other examples: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.
- Sidekick: Cynthia, Lisa's friend and co-worker, could count as this.
- Sincerity Mode: Rippner was actually being compassionate when he said, "That it was out of your control?"
- Stairwell Chase
- 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 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.
- Tall, Dark and Handsome/Tall, Dark and Snarky: Rippner.
- Terms of Endangerment: Rippner is very fond of calling Lisa, "Leese."
- 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.
- Third Act Stupidity: Rippner's eventual downfall.
- Three Act Structure
- Trying To Catch Me Fighting Dirty
- Type Casting: Red Eye and Batman Begins probably helped solidify Cillian Murphy's "type" as the sinister, borderline sociopathic villain. He is not happy about this, to the degree that he has said he is not playing villains anymore.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: Subverted. While sexual tension was brimming throughout the entire film, Lisa and Rippner really start off with a mutual attraction, but it ends up being one-sided (more or less) on Rippner's part.
- Use Your Head: Rippner headbutts Lisa after her first attempt at sabotaging his plans. Lisa is knocked out cold, while Rippner seems pretty unaffected save for a little bit of blood. 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.
- Villainous Cheekbones: Rippner, made more prominent by shadows and lighting effects.
- Villainous Crush: Rippner to Lisa.
- 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.
- We Need a Distraction:
- 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.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Lisa's fear of flying.
- Woman in White: Cynthia.
- 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 rage and 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.
"red eye: contemporary feminist classic" by Thea Lim
It’s no secret that these days the horror/suspense category of movies has been letting down the ladies. You only need to take a look at the newly formed torture porn (yick!) genre to be assured of that.
Kira Cochrane at the Guardian has a succint analysis of this, saying that, “Horror films have, of course, always been full of nasty, misanthropic imagery…But [in torture porn films] it’s the violence against women that’s most troubling, because it is here that sex and extreme violence collide.” Sexualised violence? That doesn’t sound like a fun time to me.
And torture porn flicks have gone so far as to even offend their brotherly film makers (see Joss Whedon’s response to the ad campaign for Elisha Cuthbert movie Captivity, reported on this very website). In an article by Soraya Roberts, even God of Horror, Wes Craven says “Horror movies were once all about fear and frights…[Today] they’re all about pain and suffering.”
I never knew that Wes Craven was such a proponent for pro-lady films. So imagine my suprise when I saw Craven’s ‘05 film, Red Eye, and found that it just might be a modern feminist classic, the first suspense thriller I’ve ever seen where gender has a starring role. For serious!
Hotel manager and “24-hour people pleaser” Lisa Reisert gets stuck in a Texas airport waiting for a flight. There she meets Jackson Rippner (like Jack the Ripper, haha…) who is unsettlingly charming. Later they wind up sitting next to each other on the plane, and he tells her that he is using her and her father in a terrorist plot to assasinate a politician staying in her hotel (Oh noes!). And then he headbutts her, holds her in a chokehold in the bathroom, and accuses her of relying on female-based, emotion-driven logic. You’ll have to see the movie to find out what happens…
But what really gripped me about this movie is the opening, where Lisa and Jackson first meet. It’s a scene you’ve seen (and maybe experienced) a million times: overly familiar man talks overly polite woman into having a drink with him, condescends to her, repeatedly asks her if she’s all right and acts generally gross. What amazed me about this run-of-the-mill scene is that it was in a movie.
We’ve smited the sensitive male chauvinist on this site before, because usually, at least in mainstream Hollywood, paternalistic, supercilious brotherpuckers are painted as being the ultimate Mr. Right. (Hello Ben Affleck, Kevin Smith, Zach Braff…) The women they approach always fall for their saccharine sweet condescension, leaving the real women in the audience screaming “That’s NOT what I want! R-E-S-P-E-C-T! Find out what that means to me!”
The exact same dialogue that Lisa and Jackson have could’ve been filmed in way that made it seem romantic. But in Red Eye, Lisa is visibly uncomfortable with Jackson’s advances. She’s suspicious of him from the outset because he’s just too nice. Like her dad, he keeps on asking her if she’s all right, as if she doesn’t really know how she feels. How many women have been in that situation before?
And yet her discomfort with him is so subtle that it might only be the people who’ve gone through it who’ll be able to identify with it - so much so that my extemely thoughtful male partner who I watched the movie with didn’t quite pick up on it. It’s like esoteric “in-joke” film-making - but the only people who are in on the joke are ladies who’ve been emotionally manipulated before. (Sweet! Finally, payback for 100s of years of patriarchal oppression!) This in-joke is carried out in the amazing trailer, where until the last few seconds of the preview, the movie is marketed as a sickly sweet rom-com[.]Without giving too much away, what I loved loved loved about this movie is how much it is about resistance. And how much the resistance is carried out by a pretty little lady with high heels and carefully coiffed hair.
Movies about resistance to male violence like Sleeping with the Enemy or Enough are transformation movies. The plot is that there’s a pretty little lady, and her vulnerability and desire for love are what makes her the perfect target for an abusive male. And she has to transform herself from this soft, domesticated rabbit, in order to be a viable opponent for her abuser. While these movies can be empowering, they do imply that regular femme-y women can’t take a man.
Red Eye, on the other hand, shows that even 24-hour people pleasers can resist and be powerful. Ourcover story for the Shameless Spring Issue dealt with such resistance. The writer, Liz Springate says that sometimes we don’t want to talk about ways to resist male violence, for fear that it will make women who’ve been assaulted feel as if they had some control over the situation, and therefore could’ve prevented themselves from being assaulted, and are to blame for not doing so. But Red Eye actually deals with this issue head on, by displaying both how terrifying and impossible it can seem to escape an attacker, and how possible it really is, even for Rachel McAdams.
For a woman like me, who weighs about the same as a sack of potatoes and has the extremely anti-revolutionary need-to-please syndrome, this movie was absolutely thrilling.
"WHY STRONG FEMALE CHARACTERS ARE BAD FOR WOMEN" by Shana Mlawski
Last night I finally saw the 2007 Transformersmovie. It was OK, in a Michael Bay sort of way, but it was very clear that it was made for a very specific audience: young white nerdy men who wish they could bone models after watching them sexily fight robots so sweat cascades down their luscious tanned bodies. All right, fine. If you must, Michael Bay. I’d prefer if you objectified some hot men every once in a while, but I also understand that you think that would make you gay, and you don’t want that, Michael Bay. I understand.
But then I see this quote from Megan Fox, the actress/model playing main hottie of the film:
“Both of the female characters in the movie were very strong characters. Rachel [Taylor]’s character is very intelligent. I thought that they were representing women very well.”
That’s the last straw. It’s bad enough that they make movies that objectify women, but then to call those women Strong Female Characters? I do not think that phrase means what you think it means, Megan Fox.
So you know what I say? I say screw Strong Female Characters. What we need now are some Weak Female Characters. My arguments below the fold…
Strong Female Characters: A History
Once upon a time in movieland, female characters were the designated Damsels in Distress. They were tied to railroad tracks, trapped in burning buildings, falling to their deaths, waiting for Superman to save them. While the hero fought the Bad Guy, they’d sit in the back biting their fingernails instead of running away to get help or throwing a punch of her own. Sometimes they’d seem smart, strong, and assured until the villain grasped them by their arm, leaving them powerless. Oh, and the swooning. Sometimes there was swooning.
Along would come the Hot Hero, strong, rugged, with a square jaw and stony buttocks, to save the day. As in the heroic tales of old, their prize for defeating the villain would be the chance to shag the Damsel and live happily ever after.
All in all, the Damsel in Distress was kind of a terrible character, but at least she did end up with the hot hero at the end. Sure, he might have anger issues or just be a tool; then again, he was also probably a prince or a cowboy or a hot PI or a superhero – or if the hero was a regular “everyman” he’d still be a Clark Gable or Cary Grant or Humphrey Bogart – so it wasn’t all bad.
Somewhere along the way feminism happened and the wymyns were all, “Um, no?” It took a while, but some writers in Hollywood got the idea. No more would female characters be Damsels in Distress. No, there should be Strong Female Characters in cinema– emphasis on “Strong.” While these women would still be young and hot, of course, they’d also have one characteristic that made them more masculine. That could be physical strength or a superpower (see Liz Sherman in the first Hellboy movie), the ability to shoot a gun properly (see Princess Leia), or it could be something more metaphorical, like being able to out-drink a guy (see Marion from Raiders of the Lost Ark). Writers patted themselves on the back, saying, “You wanted Strong Female Characters? Well, now they’re strong.”
Yeah, the trouble is, although these characters were marginally better than the original Damsels in Distress, they still ended up having to be saved in the final act by the male hero. There would usually be a scene (or three) where the “Strong Female Character” would be trapped by the villain and put into sexy clothing, I guess as a punishment of some sort. And even when she was being strong, she was always doing it in the sexiest way possible. She’d never, say, get a black eye or a broken nose in a fight. Her ability to fix cars (a powerful, masculine trait) would basically allow her to get sexy grease all over her slippery body. Her ability to shoot a gun was so the film’s advertisers could put her on a poster wearing a skimpy outfit with a big gun between her legs. All in all, the “strength” of her character was just to make her a better prize for the hero at the end – and for the horny male audience throughout.
And the heroes got worse, too. Yeah, these Strong Female Characters would sometimes be rescued by the Hot Hero. More often, now, they’d be saved by the Schlubby Everydude. Apparently somewhere along the line directors decided that film heroes should be more like audience stand-ins: lame, scrawny, nerdy. So you wouldn’t have Hot “Strong” Marion sleeping with Hot Strong Indiana Jones at the end anymore. You’d have Hot “Strong” Megan Fox sleeping with Weaselly Weak Shia La Beouf at the end. Um, WHAT?! If this female character is so strong and so hot and so great in every way, why in the world would she end up with that loser? Oh. Because he’s the audience stand-in. That makes perfect sense.
Some movies nowadays go even further. They pile up one awesome trait after another on top of this sexy female character, thinking that will make them “stronger.” For instance, consider Rachel Taylor’s character in Transformers, who, Megan Fox claims, is an intelligent, Strong Female Character. Of course! She’s a 23-year-old, model-thin super-attractive super-genius hacker who is SO SMART that everyone in the Pentagon spends the whole movie looking at her dumbly because she’s just SO MUCH BETTER THAN THEM AT EVERYTHING. Or, as A.O. Scott said in his Wall-E review, this is the female character (like EVE) who is “a supermodel who also happens to be a top scientist with a knack for marksmanship.”
This Super Strong Female Character is almost like a Mary Sue, except instead of being perfect in every way because she’s a stand-in for the author, she’s perfect in every way so the male audience will want to bang her and so the female audience won’t be able to say, “Tsk tsk, what a weak female character!” It’s a win-win situation.
Saying Yes to Weak Female Characters
I think the major problem here is that women were clamoring for “strong female characters,” and male writers misunderstood. They thought the feminists meant [Strong Female] Characters. The feminists meant [Strong Characters], Female.
So the feminists shouldn’t have said “we want more strong female characters.” They should have said “we want more WEAK female characters.” Not “weak” meaning “Damsel in Distress.” “Weak” meaning “flawed.”
Good characters, male or female, have goals, and they have flaws. Any character without flaws will be a cardboard cutout. Perhaps a sexy cardboard cutout, but two-dimensional nonetheless. And no, “Always goes for douchebags instead of the Nice Guy” (the flaw of Megan Fox’s character in Transformers) is not a real flaw. Men think women have that flaw, but most women avoid “Nice Guys” because they just aren’t that nice. So that doesn’t count.
So what flaws can female characters have? Uh, I don’t know. How about the same flaws a male character would have? This is especially important in comedies, because, nowadays, male writers are so clueless about writing funny women that female characters in sitcoms, sitcomish-movies, and comics tend to be the Smart, Gorgeous Snarky Voice of Reason in an unreasonable world. In other words, Not Flawed and Not Funny.
I’m sick of it. Let’s see more female characters
- that fall down hilariously (like Lucille Ball)
- that are arrogant (like Zhang Yiyi in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon)
- that are realistic or exuberant villains (like Tilda Swinton in Michael Clayton or Atia from Rome)
- that are neurotic (like Elliott from Scrubs)
- that are mean or cruel (like Elaine from Seinfeld)
- that are vengeful (like The Bride from Kill Bill)
- that are forgetful (like Dory from Finding Nemo)
- that say the wrong things (like C.J. in The West Wing, often, or, again, Elliott from Scrubs, always)
- that are emotionally repressed (like Marge from The Simpsons)
- that are nerdy and awkward (like Belle from Beauty and the Beast)
- that are crazy (like everyone, male or female, from Neon Genesis Evangelion)
- that are insufferable know-it-alls (like Hermione or Lisa Simpson)
- that are depressed (I can’t think of one, which is interesting, since women are more likely to be depressed in real life. Who’s the female equivalent of Hamlet? Is there one?)
(Brief interlude: And, by the way, it’s OK if these women are hot. The characters I just mentioned above [The Bride, the Crouching Tiger ladies, Ripley, Sarah Connor, and Ms. Valentine] are all quite attractive. But they also DO get beat up and they DO look like they could kick your ass. Except for Zhang Yiyi, who’s like thirty pounds. But she at least looks graceful enough that she could fly and kick your ass with a sword, and she looks angry and batshit crazy enough that she’d do it twice. And they all have their own goals, flaws, and back stories. I don’t want you thinking I have something against attractive women. I am one myself, after all :)
Once your female characters have some depth to them, it doesn’t really matter if the male hero saves them or not. For instance, Batman saved Rachel Dawes a couple of times, but I never saw her as only a Damsel in Distress, because she was her own person with her own moral code and own heroic goals to clean up Gotham with her Lawyer Powers. There was nothing in her background that led me to believe she’d be able to fight supervillains single-handedly, so when Batman has to save her (just like he saves everyone else), it’s believable. If, say, she had beaten up the Joker with her super kung fu skills she learned in self-defense class and her super-powered mace she developed in her own chem lab after she got her PhD from Harvard, and her makeup and hair still looked good afterward, then she’d be LESS of a Strong Female Character. She’d just be some image of what the nerdy male audience wants in a damsel.
My work here is done.
"DOES CHRISTOPHER NOLAN HAVE A WOMAN PROBLEM?" by Matthew Belinkie
I don’t generally write the feminist articles here at OTI. (If you want to read a traumatic but ultimately thought-provoking comment thread, check out the time I argued that Showgirls isn’t so bad after all.) But I couldn’t help but notice that Christopher Nolan really loves killing off his female characters to motivate his male characters. Let’s roll the tape (lots of Nolan spoilers to follow):
- Memento: A man with amnesia is obsessed with finding the killer of his beautiful wife.
- Insomnia: A detective plays a cat and mouse game with the killer of a beautiful young girl.
- The Prestige: A magician engages in a bitter rivalry with a former friend he blames for the death of his beautiful young wife.
- The Dark Knight: The lives of a masked vigilante and a district attorney are shattered when the woman they both love is killed.
- Inception: A dream thief struggles with the crushing guilt of his wife’s suicide.
- And here’s a bonus: Nolan’s first feature, Following, apparently features a beautiful dead girl as a final twist.
Shana, our resident feminist/Lostologist, introduced me to a name for this plot device: “fridge stuffing.” The term comes from a notorious issue of Green Lantern from 1994, in which Kyle Rayner came home to find his girlfriend not merely dead, but stuffed into his refrigerator. I can’t help but speculate as to WHY the villain, who is eye-rollingly named “Major Force,” would stuff his victim into a refrigerator. If he intended to eat her, the freezer is the way to go. If he wanted to hide the body somewhere no one would find it, this seems like a poor strategy; Green Lantern gotta eat. My best guess is that he wanted to instill a fear of refrigerators in his enemy, so that Green Lantern would slowly starve to death. Think about it: if you opened a refrigerator to find your girlfriend’s dead body in there, you would have second thoughts about opening a refrigerator ever again. You’d be living on pasta and soup for a while.
You know what? I have to Google this.
[five minutes elapse]
Okay, from the single page of the comic I found, Major Force leaves a note on the table that says: “Surprise for you in the fridge. Love, A” “Huh,” says Kyle. “Handwriting looks funny.” This was just silly on Major Force’s part. Was the Major honestly worried that, were it not for this note, Alex’s body would never be discovered? Can we all agree that however great Kyle’s shock, it would be that much greater if he sat around the apartment for two hours, watching ESPN and leafing through his mail, before he finally got up to see if there were anymore Coronas in the OH SWEET MOTHER OF MERCY!!
Hey, I wonder what Major Force did with all the food that was in the fridge?
Wait, what I am supposed to be writing about? Let me check my tattoo… oh right.
Now technically, not all of Nolan’s movies rise to the level of fridge stuffing. It’s my understanding that the cliché require that the female character be a real character in the story, that the audience kind of likes, and who is sacrificed so the male character has something to brood about. InMemento, Insomnia, and Inception, the girl is dead before the movie starts. Her identity is defined by her death… which isn’t exactly feminist, but isn’t quite fridge-stuffing. The death of Rachel Dawes in The Dark Knight qualifies, because we’ve had plenty of time to know Rachel before she gets exploded.
But no matter how much we dislike any given cliché in the abstract, you can always find counter-examples in which the cliché works brilliantly. After all, it wouldn’t be a cliché in the first place if it didn’t work. The Dark Knight is a perfect example. The death of Rachel Dawes is surprising, effective storytelling, moving the plot forward on several fronts. Shana was as enamored with this movie as any of us, despite the sad fate of the movie’s one female character. If you grade The Dark Knight as a work of feminism, it may not do very well. If you grade it as a movie, different story.
In fact, I love all of Christopher Nolan’s movies, and I wouldn’t change them one little bit. That’s what makes this article tricky to write: I don’t know what my thesis is. I have an observation, but I’m not sure how I feel about it. I think it’s clear that Christopher Nolan prefers male characters to female ones, but I don’t think he’s misogynistic. There are great parts for women in Memento, The Prestige, the Batman movies, and even Inception. I suppose there’s a soft misogyny in the way these men are haunted by angelic, sexualized ghosts. It’s kind of Dante. But Christopher Nolan isn’t Michael Bay. Hell, I can’t even recall a sex scene or nudity in any of his work.
So yeah, I don’t think Nolan is sexist. I DO think he has a fascination with dead love interests. Don’t bother searching his Wikipedia page; there’s no dead mother, sister, or girlfriend in his past. Besides, as Wrather noted on this week’s podcast, that kind of psychological determinism is seldom true in real life.
Maybe these dead ladies are an accidental byproduct of the noir world he likes to work in: if you love grim, driven men of action, you need to manufacture something for them to be grim about. The man who actually wrote that Green Lantern story eventually addressed the “woman in the fridge” controversy, saying:
To me the real difference is less male-female than main character-supporting character. In most cases, main characters, “title” characters who support their own books, are male.
There’s some truth to this. The movie is called The Dark Knight, and if taking away the only woman the titular character has ever loved isn’t fair game, what is?
And yet, it’s definitely true that, even when there are stories centered on women, you don’t see a lot of men stuffed in fridges. At the beginning of Kill Bill, Uma’s fiancé is slaughtered in front of her. But you really don’t get the impression that’s what she’s upset about when she wakes up. It’s unclear whether she even cares about the guy. What really drives her is her lost baby… which isn’t particularly feminist, actually. I asked the Overthinkers to suggest situations where a woman is out to avenge her dead lover. McNeil recalled The Brave One, a Jodi Foster revenge flick. Shana mentioned the Sun/Jin story arc on Lost, but with the disclaimer that it petered out pretty quickly.
(To bring it back to comic books for a second, someone made the interesting observation that when male superheroes die, they are often brought back to life with their powers restored. But when female characters die, their deaths are treated as a permanent tragedy.)
So while there’s nothing wrong with a story about a dead woman and the man who avenges her, there is something problematic about how commonplace and effective that trope is, and how seldom we see its gender inversion. There’s a Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, but there’s no Bros Avenging Bros Unit.
Or maybe there’s nothing problematic about it at all. Maybe we, as a species, are programmed to be more upset by the death of a woman than the death of a man. Remember the end of Dr. Strangelove, when he explained that in the mineshafts, the ideal ratio is ten women for every man? He has a point. When human existence is in jeopardy, protecting the women is smart evolutionary math – they are capable of producing fewer children, and therefore are the limiting factor in propagating the species. I’m sort of kidding, but I’m sort of not: men and women are different. Maybe it’s in our DNA to care more about the death of a woman than a man.
Still, even if my crazy theory is correct, it doesn’t mean fridge stuffing can’t be misogynistic. The writer is basically deciding that there is nothing that character can do that would be more interesting than getting butchered. That any possible plotlines she could be a part of wouldn’t be as effective as her funeral.
But then AGAIN, I’m certainly not arguing that it’s always wrong to kill off a female character.
Ag, I give up and throw it out to you. Is Christopher Nolan guilty of any sort of sexism? When is killing off a supporting female character wrong, and when is it fair game? If you were going to kill your arch-enemy’s lover and hide the body for him/her to find, where would you put it?