2005
Rated: R for graphic violence, graphic language, strong sexual content, rape.
Genre: Suspense Thriller Action Drama
Directed By: Mikael Hafstrom
Running Time: 1:50
Review by: Felix Vasquez Jr.
Review Date: 1/08/07
Special Features:
Bonus Featurette - 1. The Making of DERAILED
Deleted Scenes
Trailer - 1. Theatrical Trailer
DERAILED

 

Men, they’re suckers for the women, aren’t they? Go into any history book and you’ll be able to find at least five men whose ultimate downfall was a very good looking woman. It’s also made up some of the best movies of all time. “King Kong,” “Casablanca,” and even “Double Indemnity.” After missing his train one morning, Charlie finds himself allured by a woman passenger who happens to have everything Charlie wants. Stuck in a loveless marriage that still survives because of the love for his daughter, Charlie finds himself at a crossroads. In the throws of passion, Charlie, and his to-be mistress Lucinda find themselves at the mercy of a ruthless murderer named Larouche who interrupts Charlie’s life with blackmail and death threats.

But who is playing whom? And who in Charlie’s life keeps leading Larouche into a dead end in his attempts to evade Larouche? I have to admit, the fact that Clive Owen headlines this competent thriller pretty much made the film for me. Being a hardcore McQueen fan, I see a lot of him in Owen, and Owen can never seem to dial it down, even when playing this wimpy man crippled by his fear, and the grave Larouche keeps digging for him.

 

As all neo-noir, “Derailed” relies on the slight of hand to trick its audience into buying what we see before us, and challenges us to delve into the aspect of the story we don’t have the imagination to think up. As you may think, “Derailed” is filled with twists and turns and doesn’t just remain a vapid story about a man caught in a love affair. I expected almost nothing, and instead received a lot from this. The red herrings shoot hard and fast, with some pretty good characterization, particularly on such a minor character as Winston, who plays assistant to Charlie’s attempts to dig himself out of this hole. Rza’s performance is nothing special, but the character is so interesting, I wanted to see where he was going. As for Jennifer Aniston, she manages to give off immense sexual appeal engaging in some steamy sex scenes and even a rape sequence.

Though “Derailed” didn’t break the image she brought to life, she gives a well enough performance as a character who serves her purpose as she’s supposed to. The damsel in distress, and the femme fatale, and she does it well. Hafstrom’s neo-noir is a fascinating and consistently entertaining thriller that fools its audience constantly and delves into this impossibly solid grave this man can not get himself out of. Vincent Cassell is really very good as the villain we love to hate, Larouche, who is always one step ahead of Charlie’s attempts. With the usual tight direction, and tense plot devices, “Derailed” is a well done neo-noir that tangles itself constantly and doesn’t ease up until it decides.

But then again, anyone who has ever been accustomed to the noir genre, or any thriller ever made, you’ll find “Derailed” to be an awfully predictable film. Awfully is pretty much an understatement. “Derailed” is possibly the most predictable thriller I’ve ever seen with twists and turns that go as any film cynic will expect it to. We know why Larouche appears at the hotel room, we know the meeting at the train has a sense of purpose to the entire story, and we just know what will happen to Charlie. It’s almost as if the writers refuse to let this story end realistically, so we’re given this insanely tacked on and awfully safe climax that I saw coming over the hills and far away. “Derailed” never stops feeling like a remake of a Michael Douglas thriller, and it never stops giving the audience the punch line before finishing the damn joke. I bet by the end of this review you've guessed the entire plot, haven't you? Nah, I'm overestimating you.

It’s one of the most predictable thrillers ever made, but it’s also very engrossing mainly because of Clive Owen giving his usual rousing performance, Jennifer Aniston increasing her sex appeal, and the story’s ability to fool the audience every once in a while. It may not be perfect, but it’s competent enough to entertain.

 

 

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