Derailed trys to be a non-stop thrill ride, but the stops are plenty and the thrills are few. Wow, that’s overly mean spirited even for me! Let’s try again, and this time with class. Derailed is unfocused throughout with few high notes from a “talented” cast.
This was supposed to be the film to showcase Jennifer Aniston’s talents, a role to help us forget her “Friends” persona. It doesn’t happen. She’s still able (despite being the female lead) to blend in with the background and disappear on screen. It looks to me like supporting actress may be her calling from here on out. She is not able to carry a film all by her lonesome. Sorry Jen. Kisses.
Derailed is based upon a novel of the same name. Inside sources say that the book has better pacing which must be the case because Derailed has very little pacing at all. It starts off slow and sinks into melodrama. The best metaphor I can throw at you would be this; Derailed is like going to a kid’s magic show where every ten minutes or so the kid pulls a pigeon out and screams “Aha!” Except you’ve seen the pigeon in the hat the whole time. My point is the twists and turns aren’t very compelling.
Clive Owen is also fairly disappointing in the film. He plays an American who gets involved in a blackmail scheme. I’m not going to say more because the movie itself is based upon suspense and if I robbed you of that there would truly be nothing left. Owen was amazingly strong in Closer and nastily effective in Sin City so to see him regress in this role is disheartening. I don’t think the part was there for Clive to shine with so I’m giving him a pass here.
Vincent Cassell plays a “super-villain”, a character that is slowly becoming extinct from the screen. Most movies these days like things a bit more muddled and evil geniuses are laughably straight-forward. Regardless, I like Cassell as an evil French street thug. Yeah, like you’ve never met that guy in your own life, eh? Oui, Oui.
I don’t usually wait this long to talk about what works in the movie (which should give you some idea of how much I disliked it). Derailed has a decent closing act, a nice final 20 minutes if you can make it that far. I also liked RZA and Xzibit in their limited roles. Overall Derailed is a classic B movie rental, hopefully you’ll have a few beers before watching.