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Butterfly on a Wheel

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Genre  Crime, Drama, Thriller
Running time  1h 38m
Writer  William Morrissey
Language  English
6.7/10 IMDb

Director  Mike Barker
Initial DVD release  December 25, 2007
Country  Canada United Kingdom
Butterfly on a Wheel movie poster
Release date  August 2007 (2007-08)
Producers  Pierce Brosnan, William Morrissey, William Vince
Cast  Pierce Brosnan (Tom Ryan), Maria Bello (Abby Randall), Gerard Butler (Neil Randall), Emma Karwandy (Sophie Randall), Claudette Mink (Judy Ryan), Desiree Zurowski (Helen Schriver)
Similar movies  Furious 7, Knock Knock, The Equalizer, Django Unchained, Last Knights, All Ladies Do It
Tagline  Lives will be broken

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Butterfly on a Wheel (US: Shattered, Europe: Desperate Hours) is a 2007 British–Canadian mystery thriller film directed by Mike Barker, co-produced and written by William Morrissey, and starring Pierce Brosnan, Gerard Butler, and Maria Bello. The film's title is an allusion to a line of Alexander Pope's poem "Epistle to Dr Arbuthnot": "Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?" The line is usually interpreted as questioning why someone would put great effort into achieving something minor or unimportant, or who would punish a minor offender with a disproportional punishment.


Butterfly on a Wheel movie scenes

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Butterfly on a Wheel movie scenes

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), an apparent sociopath, takes over their lives with the brutal efficiency of someone who has nothing to lose.

Butterfly on a Wheel movie scenes

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 Neil and Abby's life, the life they have built over 10 years, to be systematically dismantled and destroyed, piece by piece.

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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. Tom asks them, how far will they go to save their child? He requires them to withdraw more than $100,000 from their bank, which Tom burns and throws along with their wallets into a river. Then he requires them to get $300 from nowhere in a part of the town where they don't have any friends. Abby pawns her bracelet and Neil his watch to get the $300. He then requires Abby to deliver a document to Neil's office within 20 min, and Tom show Neil a copy of document that contains details of Neil's hacking into customer accounts, which if leaked will ruin Neil. Neil watches Abby deliver the document from a distance. Neil and Abby try to rescue Sophie from a hotel, only to get caught by Tom, who makes Abby take off her dress and put on an enticing, short dress in front of both of them.

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Tom has one last test for Neil to save Sophie: he requires Neil to enter a house and kill the occupant - a coworker named Judy who Neil has been having an affair with. Neil is greeted warmly by Judy, and is desperately confused as he sees a picture of Tom on the mantel and learns that he and Judy are married. Tom enters the house and tells Neil to shoot Judy or he will kill their daughter Sophie. Neil pulls the trigger but the gun isn't loaded. Ryan reveals he knows about their affair and tells Neil his daughter is safe at home.

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As they return home, Neil lies to Abby and tells her that his boss was having an affair with Judy and Tom mistook Neil for that person, which is why Tom had tormented them the whole day. When they return home, Sophie is asleep and apparently has been there the whole time. Abby reveals to Neil that their daughter had never been kidnapped, and Tom had concocted the entire day to let Neil experience for one day the pain he has undergone. Neil says that Abby has ruined his career by delivering the document to his office, but she tells him it was blank. Abby has paid Neil back for 24 hours a portion of the pain she has experienced since learning of his affair.


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  • Pierce Brosnan - Tom Ryan
  • Gerard Butler - Neil Randall
  • Maria Bello - Abby Randall
  • Callum Keith Rennie - Detective McGrath
  • Dustin Milligan - Matt Ryan
  • Claudette Mink - Judy Ryan
  • Production

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    Pierce Brosnan joined the film's cast in late 2005. Maria Bello and Gerard Butler joined production on 19 January 2006.

    Butterfly on a Wheel Butterfly on a Wheel Bluray The Butterfly Desperate Hours

    Filming began in February 2006 and finished the following May. Vancouver stands in for Chicago but the production shot in the latter city for landscapes before moving to the United Kingdom for post-production. Filming also took place in Los Angeles.


    Butterfly on a Wheel Butterfly On A Wheel

    The 2010 Indian Malayalam film Cocktail is an uncredited remake of Butterfly on a Wheel.

    The 2014 Indian Tamil film Athithi is also an uncredited remake of Butterfly on a Wheel.


    Butterfly on a Wheel Wikipedia
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