out of Five
Running time: 110
Cheesy, old-fashioned thriller that remains surprisingly enjoyable, despite obvious twists and an increasingly ludicrous plot.
What’s it all about?
Derailed harks back to the era of Fatal Attraction
, when yuppie-in-peril thrillers were all the rage. Clive Owen stars as Charles Schine, an overworked Chicago man whose marriage is strained as a result of having to earn enough to pay for his daughter’s kidney transplant.
When Charles meets the flirty Lucinda (Jennifer Aniston) on a commuter train, he’s instantly smitten. However, Charles soon finds his life plunged into deception, blackmail and violence.
Clive Owen is surprisingly good as Charles, giving a performance that’s a lot more lively than normal. Similarly, it’s fun to see Aniston playing against type with a character that’s much darker than her usual run of goodie-goodies.
Vincent Cassel has a huge amount of fun as LaRoche, overacting the Evil Frenchman bit to the point where he’s practically twirling a moustache. In addition, there’s strong support from RZA (as Charles’ ex-con coworker) and Giancarlo Esposito as the detective.
The biggest problem with Derailed is that its plot becomes increasingly ludicrous, failing the crucial test of what would I do in that situation? on a number of occasions.
It’s also saddled with a twist that is blindingly obvious. That said, Swedish director Håfström (who made the Oscar-nominated Evil) still manages to save a neat little surprise for the climax, even if he has to cheat a bit to get there.
Derailed is more fun than it has any right to be, largely thanks to Cassel’s glorious overacting and Håfström’s slick direction. Trashy and forgettable, but worth seeing.