A perfect family's dynamic is ruined by a kidnapper's brutally efficient plot.
In Chicago, Neil Randall - family man and executive of an advertisement agency - has a perfect life. He expects to be promoted in his job soon, he has a beautiful and sexy wife, Abby, a lovely daughter, Sophie, and he lives in a wonderful house. When Neil's boss, Karl Granger, invites him to spend the weekend in his country cottage, Abby hires a nanny for Sophie, so Abby can spend the day with her sister, Diane. While driving Abby to meet Diane, a stranger who was hidden on the backseat appears with a gun, and informs them that he has kidnapped Sophie. He introduces himself as Ryan, and states that for twenty-four hours the couple will obey his orders, otherwise he will kill Sophie. By keeping the couple under his total control, he makes it clear that he is a calculating sociopath with nothing to lose, and the intention of destroying Neil's perfect life.
- Chicago residents Neil Randall (Gerard Butler) and his wife, Abby Randall (Maria Bello) have the perfect life and a perfect marriage. With their beautiful young daughter, Sophie, they are living the American dream... until today. When Sophie is suddenly kidnapped, they have no choice but to comply with the abductor's demands. The kidnapper, Tom Ryan (Pierce Brosnan), a cold and calculating sociopath, takes over their lives with the brutal efficiency of someone who has nothing to lose. In the blink of an eye Neil and Abby's safe and secure existence is turned upside down. Over the next twenty-four hours they are at the mercy of a man who wants only one thing: that they do his bidding. It soon becomes clear that Ryan's demands are all the more terrifying because he doesn't want their money. What he wants is for Neil and Abby's life, the life that they have built over 10 years, to be systematically dismantled and destroyed, piece by piece. With time running out on their little girl, Neil and Abby realize their nightmare is just about to begin. They will have to submit to Ryan's challenges over the next 24 hour period. How far will they go to save the life of their child?