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Derailed - 16/1/2006 12:52:31 PM   
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Derailed - 8/2/2006 8:45:54 PM   


Posts: 135
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: London
There is plenty of potential on show in Derailed. Director Mikael Håfström won rave reviews and an Oscar nomination for his debut film Evil, while screenwriter James Beattie's last effort was Michael Mann's hugely entertaining thriller Collateral. As for the cast; Clive Owen is appearing here after his Oscar-nominated turn in Closer, Vincent Cassel can be one of the most interesting actors around when he's on top of his game, and Jennifer Aniston is a woman with something to prove as she tries to break free of her TV persona and establish herself as a serious film actress.

Where did it all go wrong? Derailed starts off badly and rapidly gets even worse. It's a glossy, tired, yuppie-in-peril thriller; the likes of which we've seen a million times before. But we've rarely seen it executed in such a slipshod fashion, and as this sub-Hitchcock nonsense spirals out of control we come to realise that we're watching a film of rare ineptitude. Derailed is the first train to depart from the Weinstein brothers' new station, and it flies off the rails with startling ease.

In Hollywood films, the guy who cheats on his wife is generally made to suffer for it ,and here Clive Owen plays the sort of role that Michael Douglas was making his own around 15 years ago. Owen is Charles Schine, a married father who has a good job, a loving wife (Melissa George) and a cute little daughter whose advanced diabetes is putting a serious strain on the family finances. One of the major early flaws of Derailed is the fact that Schine is a very hard character to feel any sort of empathy for. He cheats on his wife, and ends up risking the life savings they've built up which in turn threatens his daughter's healthcare; most viewers will feel he deserves everything he gets.

What he gets is a whole lot of trouble. After forgetting his fare on the train to work one morning, Charles' embarrassment is saved by an attractive stranger who offers to pay for him. Lucinda (Aniston) throws a shapely leg Charles' way and he's immediately smitten. She's married too, but after a flirtatious lunch the pair's relationship accelerates quickly and they book into a shabby hotel for a night of passion. However, their coitus is interrupted by French mugger LaRoche (Cassel), who beats Charles, rapes Lucinda, and makes off with their wallets. When both have recovered, Lucinda refuses to go to the police for fear of their affair being exposed; but Charles is soon being blackmailed by LaRoche and, as the price for the crook's silence escalates, the normally placid businessman is forced to take drastic action.

I suppose there's nothing really wrong with this set-up per se, it's just that we've really seen it all before and Derailed never looks like doing a single imaginative thing with it. The film has been adapted from James Siegel's novel, and I can only hope for the book's sake that some semblance of plausibility and structure has been lost in translation. Stuart Beattie's screenplay is an unbelievable and inconsistent jumble of plot holes and clichés, with a series of increasingly ludicrous twists being thrown in as the film progresses. With such shoddy material at his disposal Håfström tries to give it some surface style at least, and the film is certainly slick and polished, but Peter Biziou's impressive noir-ish camerawork is better than Derailed deserves.

All of the film's characters are wafer-thin, and none of them manage to gain our sympathy or interest. Viewers who were surprised by Owen's witty and charismatic turn in Closer will be disappointed to hear that he appears to have only borrowed a personality for one film, and his non-performance here is stupendously dull. In contrast, Cassel turns everything up to eleven as the psycho behind all Charles' woes. He taunts his victim at every turn as he stays one step ahead of the game, and his manic display at least gives the film a dash of unpredictability here and there. He also contributes to one highly amusing scene in which he takes Charles' testicles hostage.

And what of poor Jennifer Aniston in all this? Well, here the film suffers a near fatal piece of miscasting by dumping this actress in a role she is woefully unsuitable for. Aniston may be many things - she is a perfectly adept comic actress for one - but a Femme Fatale she is most definitely not. Floundering in her attempt to make the most of her bland sexuality, Aniston never looks comfortable as the supposedly alluring seductress for whom men will risk everything. It's a blatant attempt to explode her girl-next-door image which backfires horribly and while Aniston still looks the most likely Friends star to make it on the big screen, projects like this can only hinder, rather than help, her cause.

Derailed ends up looking like the kind of film Adrian Lyne has churned out on so many occasions but without any of the sex which normally comes as standard. The closest the film does get to including any sex is a particularly nasty rape scene which, since we don't care a whit for these characters, comes of looking especially cheap and gratuitous. The final act is truly awe-inspiring in its feebleness, with Owen's previously dull-witted stooge suddenly becoming a quick-witted killing machine, and by the time the filmmakers deliver the laughable final twist in the tale, few viewers will be able to summon up the energy to register even the merest hint of surprise or interest.

Is there anything of merit in this film? Well, Cassel is at least lively, and I liked the supporting turn from rapper RZA (who, along with co-star Xzibit, has a name more imaginative than anything in the script), but Derailed is lacking in so many areas that the few bright spots are quickly engulfed by the overwhelming sense of pointlessness the film provokes. It's a lurid, lazy and incredibly stupid film; and its only saving grace may be that it can lay claim to possessing the most appropriate title of the year.

< Message edited by Philconcannon -- 15/10/2006 6:20:02 PM >
Post #: 2
RE: On the Wrong Track - 9/2/2006 4:18:30 PM   

Posts: 3753
Joined: 1/10/2005
From: On the edge of the film world
I went to see this film a couple of days ago and I really enjoyed it! Well sort of. I thouhg it was a really good film. I am obviously clueless cause the twists did suprise me every time! Although I though bought main actors Clive and Jennifer could have both done a better show they were very good. I think it told hte story really well. I have to say I did get confused from time to time and I did drift off, but then it would change tack and I would be drawn back into the  plot. I think this film needs a fairer chance than what empire has said about it! Not one of the best films of the year but worth a watch. maybe hrte characters could have done with more devlopement?


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Post #: 3
Not bad - 12/2/2006 12:14:49 AM   


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Joined: 6/1/2006
I was actually expecting this to be a load of old tripe, but it was very enjoyable. I think Empire has been a bit harsh on this - the concept is not exactly mind-blowing and this is reflected in the content. Yes, there were some obvious twists, but it was enjoyable all the same. And when whould we ever empathise with a cheater? Cinema usually gives protagonists a reason to be disloyal but we all know that in reality a decision to be unfaithful is often purely selfish. Definitely worth a watch.

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Post #: 4
are we that stupid? - 13/2/2006 1:14:02 AM   


Posts: 4
Joined: 5/2/2006
I echo the sentiments of empire but two star is too generous, what happens when bad people are cheated on? just desserts? Story was patchy but it was handled just as bad, treating the viewers like idiots. Maybe it wouldn't be as bad if he was just having an affair. What got me was that he had a sick daughter in need of medical treatment and he was out doing what he did, if that wasn't bad enough he kept on covering it up to protect a woman he barely knew. Please ! then they make him the hero. BAD BAD BAD

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Post #: 5
Derailed - 23/2/2006 11:05:41 PM   


Posts: 66
Joined: 22/2/2006
Ok I was really expecting this film to be poop, BUT to my surprise it was half decent! Clive Owen/american accent CRAP, Jennifer Aniston not being ditsy GOOD! The ending was so obvious even after watching just the trailer but you still feel a little something for the charecters and it was enjoyable seeing how the ending came about. you could do a lot worse than this on a night at the big screen.

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Post #: 6
Rubbish after an intriguing 20minute opener - 12/7/2006 1:04:10 AM   


Posts: 4
Joined: 12/7/2006
As the Empire review stated, Derailed starts off well with Owen and Aniston initially meeting each other. After the rape scene, it goes careening downhill into utter silliness. Shame.

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Post #: 7
RE: Rubbish after an intriguing 20minute opener - 19/2/2007 2:48:55 AM   

Posts: 411
Joined: 25/9/2006
From: Dublin, Ireland.
It's a passable Hollywood thriller. Contrived and irratating, but watchable.


The Hobbit Film - The way it was meant to be or not at all.

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Post #: 8
Average - 22/3/2007 11:03:52 AM   

Posts: 1773
Joined: 14/10/2006
From: Scotland
A entertaining thriller which starts of on the right track but ends up a mess.

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Post #: 9
RE: Derailed - 3/9/2007 2:37:33 PM   

Posts: 10122
Joined: 24/3/2006
From: In The Pipe, Five by Five.
Ok film. Was worried where the film was going until it all kicked off.

Thought it was going to be a depressing film about infidelity etc.

Not bad, watchable though.


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Post #: 10
- 27/5/2009 9:57:18 AM   


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Joined: 24/7/2008
Well worth the watch, and to be honest although parts where a little too obvious this is a great film with a great plot.

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Post #: 11
RE: Derailed - 8/4/2012 10:05:43 PM   

Posts: 654
Joined: 3/4/2012
Derailed (2005)

So I was gonna watch the JCVD thriller called 'Derailed' but after the first five minutes I realised I had the wrong film haha so I stuck with this despite Aniston being involved.

Honestly I was pleasantly surprised with this thriller, you don't think its a thriller and you don't see the quite decent twist in the plot, but its actually pretty good. I won't go into the plot for fear of spoiling it but its all about double cross, setups, scams...basically naughty lying laced with blackmail.

Bottom line the film is carried by an excellent performance from Cassel who is really quite evil looking and convincingly aggressive. His scrawny frame is deceiving as is his change in character to get into Owen's life which gives him the kind of presence that sends shivers down your spine, the fact that he won't stop makes him nasty and scary.

Owen does a good job as the husband in dire straits as he battles against the demands of Cassel's character, he looks the everyman and plays it well. Unfortunately Aniston simply cannot shake her comedic background and just cannot convey a decent performance in drama as far as I'm concerned, she just isn't convincing, purely a TV actor period.

For some reason someone thought the casting of 'Xzibit' and 'RZA' was a good move for this film, errrr no, they add nothing in their roles and I don't understand why they were even considered when simple more toned down characters would have been better. And can someone explain to me whenever these 'musicians' are cast in films the end credits always seem to role with a lame rap song? is that part of their deal or something!? completely wrong choice of music for the end credits here, totally ruins the feel.

From a slow start which feels like its gonna be crap to a pretty good thriller which does get you involved as the plot gets deeper. I didn't see the plot U-turn and it really makes things interesting as you root for Owen's character, before that its a little annoying as you tend to blame Aniston for his ever mounting problems but after the twist you see why.

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Post #: 12
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