Strangers on a train


For some strange reason Derailed stayed with me long after I had seen it. It mirrors alot of director Alfred Hitchcock’s works as actor Clive Owen says. It has the same feel as Hitchcock’s Vertigo and Family Plot. I loved it but over to critic Jeff Shannon who says, “With a nasty villain and a plot twist that will take many viewers by surprise, Derailed is the kind of potboiler that’s enjoyable in spite of its flaws. It’s basically a watchable movie with a convincing set-up and a plausible payoff that... well, you’ve just got to see it and decide for yourself. It’s a good-enough thriller that turns infidelity into every man’s nightmare, beginning when Charles (Clive Owen), a well-to-do Chicago advertising director with a sickly, diabetic daughter and a slightly troubled marriage, has a chance encounter with Lucinda (Jennifer Aniston), a lovely and quick-witted financial advisor who’s also stuck in a marital rut. Their chemistry is instant but their eventual hotel tryst is interrupted by a mugger (French actor Vincent Cassel at his vile, despicable best) who’s out to milk Charles for every dollar he’s got. Of course, one phone call to the police would solve everyone’s problems, but as he did with Collateral (albeit more convincingly), screenwriter Stuart Beattie turns up the tension with such manipulative skill that you’re willing to skate past the plot holes and go along for the ride. With lively supporting performances by rappers Xzibit and RZA, Derailed marks a commercially slick American debut for Swedish director Mikael Håfström, whose 2003 thriller Evil was a Best Foreign Film Oscar-nominee.”

Adds Hollywood insider Brian Marder, “It’s been far too long since Owen smiled in one of his movies. He again broods his way through Derailed, eschewing and suppressing any dramatic fireworks, letting it all just simmer below the surface. I’m just saying maybe it’s time for a comedy. For Aniston, her foray into the dark world of adulterous affairs is at best iffy here. Her screen time in Derailed is very limited. The lone bright spot is French actor Cassel, best known for playing cat and mouse games with George Clooney in Ocean’s Twelve. His varied performance greatly overshadows his A-list co-stars.”

Derailed is Swedish director Mikael Hafstrom first English-language film, but chances are it won’t be his last. His careful, slow-burn technique with Derailed should generate plenty of future offers, especially since he understands how to sell a film, which may or may not make him proud. It seems at times as though he wanted to go for a more urban-noir, Euro-caper feel but was perhaps overruled by the Weinstein brothers (former heads of Miramax), who chose a more commercialised Derailed to launch their new production company. In any event, the movie moves smoothly.”

And Premiere Magazine concludes by quoting Owen,”He’s not searching for anything. He’s just going to work one morning and meets this bright, spirited girl, and he can’t believe his luck’. Their affair becomes even more complicated when they’re attacked by criminals during a hotel rendezvous. The thugs then hatch a blackmail scheme that seemingly threatens both marriages, as well as the life of Charles’s daughter. There are a few twists and turns, and all isn’t quite what it seems. It’s very Hitchcockian.”