Charles Schine (Clive Owen) is a somewhat successful Chicago-based
advertising director with alot of balls in the air to juggle- his daughter
is stricken with Type I Diabetes, has had unsuccessful liver transplants,
and seems in danger of dying of her illness at any given time. Try as he
might, her eroding condition seems to be affecting Schine's job performance.
His wife Deanna (Melissa George) is a hard working teacher equally
distraught, and the combined pressures of busy work lives, ever mounting
financial burden and their daughter's downward spiral is slowly eating away
at both Charles and Deanna's physical and emotional stamina, as well as
their once blissful marriage.
Enter a chance meeting on a commuter train between Charles and sexy,
confident financial advisor Lucinda (Jennifer Anston) who is barely
managing a marriage of convenience for the sake of their own 12 year old
daughter. The chemistry seems immediate between the two, and Charles,
seeing a manner of temporary escape from his ever more stressful existance,
woos an all too ready and willing Lucinda first to dinner and then to a
From here things go horribly awry. The two are interrupted and brutally
mugged by a heinous man named LaRoche (Vincent Cassel). Not wishing to
go to the police for fear of what it would do to their respective marriages,
they keep the incident to themselves and LaRoche sees an opportunity to
relentlessly blackmail his victims to the tune of every penny they have.
Charles, having saved his money for years for a revolutionary and incredibly
expensive drug that may cure his daughter, is faced with risking his family
by coming clean and going to the police or paying every dime he has to
LaRoche thus imperiling daughter Amy's life.
Directed by Swedish film director Mikael Håfström, Derailed is a
taught thriller that calls upon erotic film noir, drama, and action as well
as serving up a few shocking plot twists to make for a suspense charged
ending. While some areas of the plot seem a bit contrived and convenient,
when this movie works it works very, very well. I went in prepared for a
storyline very different from the one Derailed delivers and as a result was
more impressed with the film than I expected to be.
When this movie was released theatrically the media played up the angle that
this was the film in which Jennifer Aniston shed her girl next door
"Friends" image with a breakout role of sorts. While her screen time is
shorter than I had anticipated, she gives a solid performace- coming across
as both confident and steamy in a sinfully mature manner. As the movie
progresses she adds to the part the proper degree of a woman wronged as well
as cool and hard-nosed. Based on this movie there is no reason for
relegating Aniston's career to light sitcom comedies.
Before seeing this movie I was under the impression that both Owen and
Aniston were given equally meaty roles. Make no mistake about it, this is
very much a Clive Owen vehicle and he delivers a spot-on performance. His
rugged good looks serve him well as a man capable of being middle class
everyman as well as a fairly dangerous individual when backed against a
wall. Owen aptly depicts a man unsuccessfully trying to keep his head above
quicksand with the entire world around him collapsing. At times ready to
crumble, Charles passes a point of fear and enters into a violent madness of
All but stealing the film is French film star Cassel, in a role that gives
him ample opportunity to depict a character cruel and venomous, pure poison
brought to life. Cold, devilishly calculating and heartlessly violent he
easily seems capable of any vile act imaginable without hesitation or
regret; LaRoche relishes the sadistic havoc he brings to the lives of his
victims. Because of Cassel's character there are some truly jolting moments
throughout the movie.
Derailed is presented in a one disc presentation. This is the unrated
version with an additional 5 minutes of footage that was not included in the
theatrical release. I will make mention of the fact that, while there is no
nudity, the depiction of both sexual and physical violence is extremely
Presentation here is in 2.35:1 widescreen, and for the most part is a good
looking, solid transfer. While it is sharp, I expected it to be slightly
sharper than it appears. Edge enhancement is very slight and colors are
clean and seem accurate.
The audio track is Dolby Digital 5.1 and is clear and easy to understand, a
solid if not spectacular track that accomodates the movie very well. A
Spanish track is also included.
Of note, there is no commentary track here.
The Making Of Derailed Featurette-
A behind the scenes look at the making of the movie which clocks in at
eight minutes, with Owen, Aniston and Cassel as well
as director Hafstrom and writer Stuart Beattie discussing their take on the
film and characters. Its an interesting little piece and worth having a
look at once, but pretty typical of the making-of genre.
3 deleted scenes are included here totaling about 10 minutes in length.
The first evolves around daughter Amy's illness and time in the hospital
in conference with her physician as well as at her bedside, ending with a
tense little snippet of Charles surveying the outside hospital perimeter.
scene deals a phone call pertaining to Amy's prospective new wonder
drug. The third and final deleted scene is a quiet sitting in a hospital
waiting room between Charles and wife Deanna where she gives up a secret
of her own. There is really nothing here that would have added much to
the story and I can see why they were cut from the film.
Derailed is a solid thriller with many good performances given
throughout. While there are some flaws here and there its still a very
serviceible vehicle. Owen, Aniston and Cassel are all given ample
opportunity to shine in their respective roles, and director Håfström does a
good job of keeping his audience sympathetic to both victims as well as
potential victims in order to deliver some real twists in the end.