"Charles, a successful ad exec and loyal family man meets an alluring and sexy woman on his morning commute. Flirtation quickly escalates into passion. But this casual fling turns dangerous when a violent criminal confronts and pulls them into a dangerous plot. Now with their entire lives thrown off-course, Charles must figure out how to turn the tables and somehow save their families." http://movies.yahoo.com
The movie opens in a prison showing some scenes of the prisoners before showing a prisoner writing down what we assume is the start of the story in a notebook. We don't know who the prisoner is.
The next scene is in Charles Schine (Clive Owens)'s house. It is morning and everyone is getting ready for work and school. This scene shows us that Charles and his wife Deanna (Melissa George) don't have the happiest of marriages but that they both love their daughter Amy a lot. It also shows that Amy has very serious diabetes and that while she doesn't look it she is a sick little girl (well 13 year old). Deanna leaves for work, taking some money out of Charles' wallet, and Amy comments 'you guys used to kiss each other before you left for work.'
Charles is late that morning and misses his regular train. He gets on the next one and when the conductor comes around to collect fares he realizes that Deanna took all the money out of his wallet and he forgot to stop at the ATM. The conductor is having no pity on him and a woman turns around and says 'I'll pay for him.' After she gives the money Charles stands up and goes over to sit by her, and they start talking and showing each other pictures of their daughters. They are both married. She tells him that her name is Lucinda Harris (Jennifer Aniston).
When Charles gets into work that morning he is late for a meeting with a big client, Susan (he is in advertising). Susan tells him that they had agreed on the way the commercial was going to be shot and that Charles had taken liberties with it and done it his own way instead of the way the client wanted it. Charles is fired off the account and they don't say specifically, but I assume that he is given a smaller project that he feels he is too good at his job to be doing. We also meet Winston, the guy who delivers the mail at Charles' office, who he is sort of friends with and they trade sports trivia with each other. He goes to Lucinda's company's website and looks up her profile with the company, showing how obsessed he is with her. Charles sees Lucinda on the train again a few days later and they sit together. He offers to pay her back for the $9 she spent on his ticket but she turns him down. He tells her about losing the big account and she also talks about work (she is a financial advisor).
They have lunch together and meet for drinks a couple times, and Charles kisses her in a bar. I believe after the kiss, is when they decide to take the relationship further and go to a hotel. They get into a cab together and Charles is pointing out the hotels as they drive past and Lucinda finds reasons to not go to each one. Suddenly she tells the cab driver to stop and says to Charles 'I can't do this.' He gets out after her and after a minute they decide to go anyways, into this hotel that the cab happened to stop right in front of.
They get a room and go upstairs and start kissing on the bed. Lucinda is just about to take Charles' pants off when they hear a noise. They have forgotten to lock the door and a man (La Roche, Vincent Cassell) has come in and now has a gun pointed at Lucinda's head. He takes both their wallets and they beg him to leave but he hits Charles in the face, breaking his nose and knocking him out, and rapes Lucinda. When Charles wakes up it is morning and La Roche is gone, and he tries a couple times to talk to Lucinda, telling her he'll take her to a hospital, but she doesn't respond until he says he's calling the police. She says that they can't because of their spouses and the affair. They both leave and Charles goes into work with the story that he got mugged, where his boss tells him it's ridiculous for him to be there and he needs to go home.
Charles is sitting in the tub at home with Deanna sitting next to the tub. Deanna says she hates him working in the city and he should go back to teaching, but Charles says they can't afford the house and Amy's medicine on two teacher's salaries. Deanna thinks they should sell the house and that will help, but Charles reminds her that they have two mortgages on the house so selling it won't help at all. Amy calls Deanna for help with her homework and a minute later the phone rings. Charles asks Deanna to get it but she is busy with Amy, so he answers the phone. It's La Roche blackmailing Charles for $20,000.
The next day Charles meets Lucinda (either at her work or they have lunch, I can't remember) and tells her what happened. She tries to give him some money for the blackmail but he refuses saying he'll take care of it. He tells her again that he thinks they should go to the police but she says they can't, because he doesn't know her husband, he's not like Charles, not a nice guy and he'll take her daughter away. She also tells Charles that she had to have an abortion. Charles meets La Roche and gives him the money.
Charles is on his way home from work a few days later when his cell phone rings. He picks it up and it is La Roche, who taunts him for a minute before Charles asks how he got his cell phone number. La Roche says it is speed dial #8 and starts going through which numbers are on speed dial. Charles looks at his cell phone and realizes La Roche is calling from his house. He runs home and finds La Roche in the living room with Deanna posing as a business associate of Charles'. Amy comes downstairs and is charmed by him, as is Deanna, and Charles is watching horrified as La Roche kisses his daughter and laughs with his wife. Deanna goes into the kitchen for something and La Roche says he needs another loan, this one for $100,000. Charles tells him he won't and La Roche grabs him by the balls until he agrees.
Charles is having drinks with Winston and telling him about the situation with La Roche. He says that technically he has the money to pay him but it's from seven years of saving for a very important purpose and we know that is for Amy's medicine. Winston says he owes him a favor because Charles once caught him stealing computers from work and didn't say anything. Winston, who used to be in prison, offers to scare La Roche away if Charles pays him $10,000. After initially turning him down, Charles agrees. At work he takes the $10,000 from an aspirin account he is working on. Winston and Charles go together to meet La Roche but aren't expecting him for another hour. Winston has given him a knife he presumably made in prison and they are in the middle of talking when the window shatters and Winston falls forward across the steering wheel. La Roche looks into the car and tells Charles it's his fault Winston is dead because he brought him. He takes the envelope with Winston's $10,000 and says 'Charlie this doesn't look like $100,000 to me.' He threatens him and leaves. Charles get out of the car trying to decide what to do when a prostitute sees him. She goes over and asks if he'd like a date. He says no and she asks 'well what about your friend? What's wrong with him anyways, is he drunk?' Charles agrees that yes, he's drunk and just then a police car pulls up. The cop is familiar with the prostitute, Candy, and first asks Charles if he is soliciting prostitutes. When he says no the cop asks 'why are you wasting Candy's time then? What about your friend?' and shines the spotlight into the car. Charles tells him that Winston is drunk and sleeping it off. The cop says 'I'm going to circle the block and if you're still here when I get back I am going to arrest both of you.' He leaves and Charles pushes Winston over to the passenger seat and drives to a river. He pushes the car in but it doesn't sink. He tries to push it in further and can't do it, so he just gives up and leaves.
The next day a detective, Frank Church, comes to his office to question him about Winston. The detective obviously suspects Charles had something to do with it and keeps finding him in different places. He promises Charles he's going to 'get the son of a bitch who did this to Winston' and Charles knows it's a threat.
Deciding he has no other choice but to pay La Roche again, Charles withdraws the $100,000 from the savings account for Amy and meets La Roche at an apartment that turns out to be Lucinda's. He gives him the money and they threaten Lucinda with a gun again, and then leave, saying that they have their lives back. Lucinda asks Charles shakily if they are gone and he says yes, hoping that they are really done with the blackmail.
Charles' boss finds out about the $10,000 from the aspirin account and is having his office searched. He tells Charles he is going to press charges, but if he just pays the money back he will probably just have community service. Charles leaves his office and goes to Lucinda's and asks for her. The receptionist says she is not in her office, and Charles turns to leave when the girl says 'oh wait, there she is' and points to someone who is not Lucinda. Charles says, 'no, Lucinda Harris, you saw me with her in here a few days ago, remember?' The girl tells him, 'no that was Lucinda's temp.' Charles can't believe what he is hearing and asks her what she means. She says, 'you know, a temp. Took long lunches, was always late? Her name was Jane something.' Charles leaves the office dumbfounded and goes to the apartment which he believed to be 'Lucinda's'. It is for rent and a realtor is showing it to a couple. The realtor gives him a brochure about the apartment and on the cover is the picture of the little girl that Jane had claimed was her daughter. The realtor tells her that a woman and her boyfriend had rented the apartment but had left very suddenly. Charles also sees Jane with a new man and after the new guy gets into a taxi and leaves, Jane gets into a taxi with La Roche and his backup. Around this time also Charles admits everything to Deanna.
Charles figures out that they use the same hotel for their scam every time so he rents a room there and waits. Soon enough Jane is there with another man and Charles sees La Roche waiting outside the door. This time the man has remembered to lock the door so La Roche is picking the lock. Charles knocks him out and breaks into the room. He is accusing Jane and warning the man all at the same time when La Roche wakes up. He has a gun and somehow Jane's latest victim gets it away from him and shoots Jane. La Roche's backup man, who works at the hotel as a bellhop, hears the shots and runs in. I don't remember exactly how it happens but everyone in the room is shot and presumably dead except for Charles, who wipes off his prints from the gun and goes back into his rented room down the hall. When police show up he gives a statement saying he heard the gunshots and looked out the peephole, saw the bellhop going to step in and decided to stay in his room. Detective Church is there but doesn't see Charles. As Charles is leaving he walks past the front desk where they are emptying out the safe. Jane and La Roche had kept all the blackmail money they got from their victims at the hotel safe, and Charles realizes his $100,000 is there. He goes to the guy behind the desk and points to his briefcase and says 'I believe that's mine.' I think he shows his ID and they check the name on the briefcase and give it to him, so he has Amy's money back.
Charles does get community service for his embezzlement, he has to teach cons in a prison for 6 months. He hands out a test and starts reading the stories they had written about themselves that they had turned in. He picks one up and starts to read it, realizing it is about himself, La Roche and Lucinda/Jane. At the end of the story it says to meet the author in the laundry room. Charles gets up saying he needs to go to the bathroom and goes to the laundry room. La Roche is waiting for him and says that Charles didn't wait to find out if he actually died at the hotel, he just assumed. He also says it was very bad luck that Charles got assigned to teach at this prison. Charles say 'no, I PICKED this prison' and stabs him in the gut with Winston's knife. Charles tells the prison guards that La Roche tried to overtake him and stab him with this knife that he had made but that Charles wrestled it away from him and managed to kill him instead. On his way out of the prison, Church is there. He stops Charles and tells him that he knows La Roche was the one who killed Winston, and that he killed at least 4 other people and he expects him to believe that Charles managed to get the knife away from him? Charles says 'I guess I got lucky' and Detective Church looks at him silently for a minute before saying 'you know if you brought that knife in here that's premeditated murder.' He doesn't say anything else and Charles walks out.
Last scene back at the Schines in the morning, once again getting ready for work and school, showing everyone is okay and everything is back to normal.
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