Derailed Movie Review,

Derailed Movie Review,
Cast: Clive Owen, Jennifer Aniston, Vincent Cassel, Melissa George, RZA, Addison Timlin, Tom Conti, Xzibit, Giancarlo Esposito, David Morrissey, Rachel Blake, Georgina Chapman
Director: Mikael Håfström
Screenplay: Stuart Beattie (based on the novel by James Siegel)
Genre: Thriller
Rated: MA coarse language, strong violence
Running Time: 107 Minutes

They Never Saw It Coming

Meeting on a commuter train one morning in Chicago, ad executive Charles (Owen) and financial analyst Lucinda (Aniston) have an immediate connection. Worn down by his job, strained marriage, and a sick child, Charles finds himself drawn to the escape Lucinda can offer. A lunch meeting, followed by dinner and drinks, leads the way to a rendezvous in a sleazy motel, where no sooner have the adulterous lovebirds ripped each other's clothes off than a sadistic thief (Vincent Cassel) breaks into the room and puts them through hours of nightmarish horror.

Because of their relationship's illicit nature, the two are unable to go to the cops, and are thus virtually powerless to their attacker's every whim, leaving themselves open to blackmail as he threatens their families and lives. Choosing momentary gratification and the excitement of the unknown over the values he generally holds dear, Charles more than pays the price for his indiscretion.

My Verdict:
Advertising executive Charles Schine (Clive Owen) is married and has a diabetic daughter whose health makes his life financially challenging. Seemingly bored with his lot, he befriends a woman, financial analyst Lucinda (Jennifer Aniston) on the commuter train and before long they are engaged in a romantic tryst at a dodgy motel. Just as Charles and Lucinda are about to consummate their relationship an intruder, Philippe LaRouche (Vincent Cassel) barges his way into their room, physically attacks Charles, rapes Lucinda and steals their wallets. Lucinda refuses to allow Charles to contact the police for fear of recriminations from her husband.

Pretending he was mugged to his colleagues and family, Charles is now at a crossroad in his life, and tries to make sense of what has happened. Pretty soon LaRouche is blackmailing Charles and he even has the audacity to enter Charles' home on the pretext of being a business associate. It is now up to Charles to put a stop to the relentless blackmailing and get back his life.

Clive Owen has an impressive portfolio of roles ('Closer' 2005, 'Sin City' 2005) and yet in 'Derailed' he has somehow taken on something that doesn't offer him the opportunity to really fire. He struggles valiantly to stop this train from running out of steam, let down by too many unbelievable coincidences that fall short of credibility. For a man whose only child is ill with life-threatening diabetes, his decision to hand over the family life-savings is seriously up for question. This is just one example of the many decisions Owen's character makes that just doesn't ring true and therefore disappoints.

Jennifer Aniston is barely passable as Lucinda with her character not being truly seductive enough or ruthless enough so she just tends to hover somewhere on safe ground, never being convincing. Vincent Cassel on the other hand is a master at playing the evil, conniving and wicked character and so fits in nicely. Hip-hop artist RZA plays Winston the postal deliveryman in Charles' office. He has a relationship with Charles that extends beyond a passing glance in the corridor but the problem here is to understand anything RZA says; the language, although it is English, sometimes sounds so foreign that it is distracting and even annoying.

With plenty of plot twists that were often obvious long before they occurred, 'Derailed' is a bit messy and sometimes even runs off the rails, which is a shame as there was the potential for this to be so much more. Supposedly a thriller is meant to be suspenseful and gripping, with a well-thought out plot and surprises around corners, but here the elusive bombshells are too far and few between leaving the viewer frustrated, much like the lead character Charles.

Rating : **

Christina Bruce

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