The kidnappers are Danny (Martin Compston) and Vic (Eddie Marsan), two ex-cons planning to make a mint on the ransom for a young woman. The younger, nervier of the two, Danny defers to the more experienced Vic, who acts with a steely conviction. Their hostage is Alice Creed (Gemma Arterton), daughter of a rich businessman, chosen by Vic and Danny as their passport to a better life. Terrified and immobile at first, it soon becomes clear that Alice isn't about to let her captors use her as capital without a fight. As determined to escape as Vic and Danny are to succeed, Alice enters into a battle of wills which strains the already fractious relationship between the two men. As the deadline for the exchange draws nearer, all three are brought close to a breaking point, with Vic and Danny's foolproof plan descending into a desperate struggle for survival.