Along Came Lucinda
"Derailed" starts in such a way that it reminds you of another thriller "Unfaithful" as a married man meets a beautiful woman on a train which leads to them embarking on an affair. But something happens, something which causes "Derailed" to surprise you but also head off on a different path to what you might initially expect and that is good. Unfortunately as it heads off down this path it tries to be too clever, throwing one twist at the audience after another until it has become far too convoluted and unbelievable. It's a shame because for a time "Derailed" looked like it was going to be special but goes too far in trying to keep on surprising the audience. And as such I had better say that in order to review "Derailed" I have to reveal one of the surprises, the first one and so if you would rather not know anything I suggest you stop reading this or any review and just watch the movie.
Charles Schine (Clive Owen - Closer) is sort of happily married to Deanna (Melissa George), as both their busy lives and looking after their sick child has meant the romance has disappeared from their marriage. So when Charles meets the attractive and classy business woman Lucinda (Jennifer Aniston - Along Came Polly) on the train in to work he not only discovers they have some things in common but finds himself attracted to her. Attraction leads to further meetings, phone calls and a dinner which ends up with them booking into a hotel room. But when a man with a gun barges in and not only robs them but rapes Lucinda Charles's life is changed for ever.
So as already mentioned "Derailed" starts off on a similar track to "Unfaithful" as we meet Charles and we are just shown enough to understand that whilst he loves his wife, routine, work and a sick child has taken the romance out of his life. It is why when he starts having feelings for Lucinda we understand why, we also understand why because she appears to be a kindred spirit in her own loveless marriage with a daughter she cares deeply for. But because this all comes about quite quickly we know that there must be more to this story than just an affair and that comes when we get the shock of them being robbed and Lucinda raped in a hotel room. It is a shocking scene which goes from erotic to disturbing and horrific in a blink of an eye.
Now what happens next is initially predictable because this man, LaRoche, who robs them has Charles's address and phone number and so starts blackmailing him and with Lucinda refusing to go to the police because it will end her marriage and financial security leaves him as prey to laRoche. But it doesn't stop there and unfortunately this is where "Derailed" is basically derailed as it tries to bring in more twists but ends up becoming seriously convoluted. Again it won't be a spoiler when I say that Charles gets to the point where enough is enough and decides to try and scare LaRoche off but what happens is over the top and almost comically daft. It's a shame as the first half of "Derailed" is good, sexual and thrilling but the second half just ends up comically convoluted.
But it keeps you watching and the reason why is in the casting especially with Clive Owen showing great restraint to make Charles initially come across as quite a normal sort of guy. Yes by the end the character has become a convoluted as the story but still Owen keeps him interesting to watch. Jennifer Aniston also delivers a good performance as she gets across that Lucinda is a smart business woman and the sort of woman who could possibly lead Charles to stray. And then there is Vincent Cassel who is so adept at playing bad guys and as LaRoche he certainly enjoys every moment of being bad to the bone.
What this all boils down to is that "Derailed" is an entertaining movie but it is a thriller which whilst does a good job of surprising you sadly ends up taking those surprises and twists too far to the point of being far too convoluted.