Derailed is a fascinating film riddled with classic plot points with a nice twist with the proper ending.
Derailed is a product of director Mikael Håfström and screenplay writer Stuart Beattie, and brought to the movie fans by Clive Owen, Jennifer Aniston, Vincent Cassel, Addison Timlin, Melissa George and RZA. There’s even a little David Morrissey.
While I was watching Derailed I found the first act to be rather curious and it had engaged my imagination, wondering where it was all going. You see, I had started watching this film without knowing a single thing about it. No previews, no taglines, just blind faith in the idea of being entertained.
Before tackling this film, director Håfström had directed the 1995 film Vendetta. Since then, he also brought us The Rite and the surprisingly good Stallone film, Escape Plan. Right now word on the street is that he has two projects in the pipe, Snitch Jacket and Tunnels.
The screenplay was written by a familiar name in Stuart Beattie. Before Derailed, he wrote Collateral and since Derailed, he brought us 30 Days of Night (2007), great fun vampire flick, Australia (2008), G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009), I Frankenstein (2014) and of course, the Pirates of the Caribbean Curse of the Black Pearl. Beattie also has quite a few projects in front of him, Among the future projects include titles like the Tom Clancy title, Without Remorse, Arthur C. Clarke’s 3001: The Final Odyssey, and Danger Close starring Sam Worthington.
As you can see this creative team behind the film holds a ton of promise.
The film starts out with a quick prison scene and then shifts backwards in time, to a dreadfully fateful morning when Charles Schine (Owen) is on his daily commuter train ride when he is asked for his pass from a conductor. He seems to not have the ticket and he’s asked to pay for a ticket, but he has no money in his wallet.
Luckily for him, the hottest looking lady on the train, Lucinda Harris (Aniston) notices him and his dilemma and offers to pay for his ticket.
After a little coy conversation between the two, one thing leads to another and later on, they both end up lying to their spouses and having a rendevouz in a seedy hotel. But if it’s one thing they both learn, you must secure your seedy hotel room door with the security chain.
Just as our intrepid cheaters were about to, you know, a man busts in, knocks Charles down to the ground, takes their wallets and assaults Lucinda in the worst possible way.
But as if that wasn’t ugly enough, this criminal, LaRoche (Cassel) has their personal information and he later starts to extort money from Charles with threats of letting people know what he was doing that night, and later, the health of his family.
All while having to keep this crime under wraps from his family and friends, while dealing with his and Lucinda’s ensuing medical situation from the events of that ill-fated night.
As I watched this movie, one of the biggest facets of the film was Aniston’s delivery of Lucinda. This was an Aniston character like I’ve never seen before. She was coy, serious and dark. It was entertaining to be pulled in by her performance. It wasn’t a top-notch performance, but it was enough to pull me in.
Owen wasn’t much different than other roles I’ve seen him in, but he was well cast as the victim in a bad situation.
Cassel was infuriating to watch as the extortionist which means he did his acting job well.
During the course of the film, we even encounter Breaking Bad‘s Giancarlo Esposito as Detective Church, investigating a different crime that crosses paths with Charles’ own situation.
As the film progressed, the second act started delivering the puzzle pieces but was not revealing a rather fascinating twist that the close of the second act smacks the viewer in the face with.
That reveal was quite stunning and in a way, almost not. But I loved it. (Nope, I’m not telling. You’ll have to watch the film to see for yourself.)
After that, things pan out and start to come to fruition with the story. But the twists aren’t quite done coming at the viewer, and they roll right into the final moments of the final act.
Derailed was a fun, tense thriller that delivered just the right amount of entertainment. It’s worthy of any rental fee or if you’re a Clive Owen or Jennifer Aniston fan, then you might like adding this movie to your collection!
Either way, I think this flick is worthy of a popcorn 7, easily.