Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

The scene is set with care and it feels right. A modern couple in a comfortable dormitory town has reached that stage in their marriage when they are too busy to find the time to ask themselves why they are not happy. Charles (Clive Owen) is an advertising copywriter. Deanna (Melissa George) is a teacher. Their daughter Amy (Addison Timlin) has an acute form of diabetes that requires constant vigilance and considerable expense.

They don't question their responsibilities. Amy's health is the motor that drives their lives. They don't resent it; they live with it. Some might say that stress, with its nagging presence, creates the antidote. Charles tries it and the consequences are devastating.

Copy picture

The antidote is sex and the conduit Lucinda (Jennifer Aniston). She meets Charles on the commuter train. It seems perfectly innocent at the beginning. She's a banker, married to a stockbroker, who plays golf, and they have a daughter about the same age as Amy. One thing leads to another - doesn't it always? - and suddenly they find themselves in a seedy downtown hotel, nervously undressing and saying things like, "I've never done this before," as if that excuses what they are doing now.

The result of this seemingly innocent (if you accept infidelity as an occupational hazard of grown up life) liaison is murder, blackmail and embezzlement. Although the melodramatic outcome may seem ludicrous and the evil Frenchman (Vincent Cassel) too diabolical for this world, the script carries you with it through every twist and turn until the final 20 minutes when coincidence and feasibility is stretched beyond endurance.

Owen can do this kind of thing standing on his head, while balancing a cage of turtledoves. Charles acts like an idiot, it's true, and does stuff that makes him appear stupid, but Owen's powerful influence on the character improves his credibility almost to the level of Michael Douglas in Don't Say A Word.

Aniston does better than doll herself up in city greet-rags and look seductively corporate, while spouting executive one-liners. Behind Lucinda's shy, steely exterior is a woman denied expression by a convenient, sterile marriage and Aniston knows the body language by heart.

Derailed might have done damage to the infrastructure of Hitchcock's legacy, but tries too hard to be smart and ends up looking (just a little bit) silly.

Reviewed on: 03 Feb 2006
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The terrible cost of flirting with an attractive banker on a commuter train.
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Read more Derailed reviews:

The Exile *1/2
Iain Macleod *

Director: Mikael Hafstrom

Writer: Stuart Beattie, based on the novel by James Siegel

Starring: Clive Owen, Jennifer Aniston, Vincent Cassel, Melissa George, Addison Rimlin, Tom Conti, RZA, William Armstrong, Rachel Blake, Xzibit, Denis O'Hare

Year: 2005

Runtime: 107 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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