Movie trope question. (Spoilers for Skyfall and The Dark Knight)

Bat Boy?

Maybe this is a question for a different thread, and perhaps I just need to see it again, but I didn’t understand why Silva needed to be captured; he already had access to their computers, he already had people inside (who planted the bomb), and there were plenty of other much easier places he could have accessed the Underground from. Why did he need to be captured? Just to get some face time with M?

Same question I just asked. And the only answer is “Yes” – but it’s not vSilva’s idea, it’s the screenwriter’s and the director’s.

It may not have been his plan - just a backup if necessary. Silva didn’t necessarily show us the other plans or escape methods he came up with. After all, h could have potentially done the same thing from the outside. However, he probably did want to talk to M and it’s possible he would have even cancelled the whole plan had she not been a tad harsh, given that she kinda-sorta caused the whole situation.

Sorry my bad, I didn’t read all the way through the thread. But yeah, it seemed to me that the plan was excessively complex, even for a James Bond flick, if the ultimate goal was merely to shoot an old woman.

For that matter, in the movie based on the TV series, the Penguin sort-of gets himself captured by Batman and Robin, in order to get into the Batcave with some dehydrated henchmen. And Batman arranges for Bruce Wayne to be kidnapped by the villains.

In Lonely Are the Brave (1962), Kirk Douglas intentionally gets arrested – first a bar fight with a one-armed man and then when that doesn’t work, punching a police officer – so that he can break his friend out of jail (in an interesting mirror on a continuing political issue the friend has been arresting for giving aid to illegal immigrants and Kirk Douglas doesn’t like that).

The friend, however, intends to stand on principal and refuses to escape jail. So Douglas escapes alone and the rest of the movie is the fall out from that.

In Lois McMaster Bujold’s Borders of Infinity, Miles does this.

And in another Bujold story, Miles accidentally invokes this trope (he’s trying to break in to a lab, gets caught and thrown into an enclosure - which happens to hold exactly what he was intending to find in the lab).

How about Face Off? In that one, the FBI agent played by John Travolta is surgically altered to look like the evil villain played by Nicolas Cage… all so that the agent can be arrested and placed in prison to extract information from the bad guy’s brother, who’s a convict there.

Luke seems to be playing a game of “let’s get all the pieces together and see what shakes out”. I don’t think he explicitly had a plan of himself getting captured to stage an escape on a sail barge. I don’t know that Jabba always availed himself of the Sarlaac, or just some whimsical cases. I think Luke had a layered operation. Put Lando in for reconnaisance and as a hidden asset should the future require it. Use Chewbacca to get Leia in place. I can imagine a scenario where Leia succeeds in getting Han out, and the Lando rescues Chewbacca. But Luke couldn’t count on that working, so he has more backups, i.e. smuggling a weapon in by “giving” his droids as a gift. Then he attempts the direct approach - bargain for their lives. Maybe that would have worked. A little mind trick if he can manage it. Nope. Guess we’re down to the well-timed breakout.

Definitely winging it and relying on his plucky good luck and the Force.


Yep. A whole army is being held captive in a military prison on some obscure planet. So Miles stages a breakout to rescue the whole army.

Actually the original plan was a little different: Miles went in to rescue 1 guy - but when Miles arrived, that fellow was dead; so Miles rescued everybody instead

Suprisingly they left off one of the early Supernatural episodes with this premise, “Folsom Prison Blues,” and it does feature a friendly guard.

A buddy and I were discussing this last night. It’s lazy writing, and it was used a lot in movies this year. I believe it was even used in The Avengers–didn’t they say the Loki actually wanted to get captured, so he could break up the team from within? The only example I can think of where the idea has worked without being too eye-rolling is Seven. But in that case, the villain has a literal end-game in mind. But even in that case, all the villain’s assumptions have to workout with Godlike accuracy. For me, any story that uses this plot device is likely to get an automatic one star review from me, regardless of the rest of the work’s quality.

One incredible real-life example is Witold Pilecki.

Someday when I write my big book of Badasses I Discovered On Wikipedia, he is going at the top of the list.