Derailed Review

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Married Charles (Owen) begins a flirtation with Lucinda (Aniston), a fellow commuter he meets on the train. Ending up in a hotel one night, they’re beaten and robbed. Charles is terrified his wife will find out, especially when the robber comes back into


“There was so much you didn’t see coming,” said Jennifer Aniston on reading the script for Derailed. Either she’s a bit slow, or something went wrong when it came to transferring the script onto the screen. Supposed surprises are far too clearly signalled, and, once they arrive, key characters seem even less sympathetic than at the outset. For example, presenting us with a hero who cheats on his lovely wife — also the mother of his sick daughter, who needs a costly operation — hardly elicits pity. Charles (Owen) makes bad decisions at every turn and ignores glaring warning signs about the company he keeps.

The virtues of Derailed are found early on, before the plot mechanics kick in. The meeting between Charles and Lucinda (Aniston) is engaging and establishes her as an interesting character: she’s not over-eroticised in the tradition of the B-movie thrillers this otherwise recalls. And there’s black humour as misfortune piles upon misfortune: watching the suited Charles frantically trying to dispose of an unexpected body is inherently comical. But this also stretches credibility, and in the end, Charles’ predicament becomes a joke — an obvious drawback for a thriller.

There’s a good film in here somewhere, but it’s buried under a messy structure and unclear direction.