On March 11, 2005, Brian Nichols (David Oyelowo) escaped from the Fulton County courthouse in Atlanta, while on trial. In the process, he murdered the judge presiding over his trial, as well as the court reporter. After fleeing the courthouse, Nichols kidnaps a young woman, Ashley Smith (Kata Mara), and holds her hostage. Ashley, a struggling addict, uses Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life to convince her desperate captor to put his life on the path to redemption.