"Derailed" DVD, Blu-ray Movie Review

1/04/2011 Posted by Admin


DVD, Blu-ray Movie Review 

By Christopher Smith

Tucked in the middle of Mikael Hafstrom's thriller, “Derailed,” which is just out on Blu-ray disc, is a swell twist, one that’s better than anything else in the movie--and one that actually makes a measure of sense, as cinematic twists go, which usually is south.

It won’t be revealed here, but it does shift the movie into a higher realm, if only for a moment, before the film settles back into the average, derivative thriller that it is.

Here is movie in which one must increasingly sustain a high level of disbelief in order to enjoy it. From Stuart Beattie’s script, the film stars Clive Owen as Charles Christopher Schine, a frazzled ad executive with an unhappy homelife who is about to have a very bad stretch of luck, indeed.

Early in the movie, on a train, he informs the attractive passenger who offers to buy his ticket when he’s unable to do so that because he’s the product of Catholic and Jewish parents, he carries more guilt than most. Not that you’d know it. In spite of his admission, no amount of guilt stops Charles from nearly having an affair with this passenger, the lovely Lucinda (Jennifer Aniston), who has a pretty face and the sort of legs that stretch up to here.

Charles would prefer that they hook around there, meaning his waist, so their flirtation heats up, with Lucinda revealing to Charles that she isn’t particularly happy at home, either. Like Charles, she has an adorable daughter, but her marriage is on the rocks and sex is in the can. So, what’s an absurdly hot-looking, bored married couple to do? Naturally, they head to a hotel, where things get dicey--really dicey--but in ways we’ll leave for you. Too much of the movie’s success rides on their secrecy.

What can be discussed are techniques, and Hafstrom has a few to his credit, much of which he learned by studying such movies as “Double Indemnity” and especially “Fatal Attraction,” the camp thriller that gives “Derailed” an extended sequence many in attendance will swear they’ve seen before. That’s because they have.

Looking unusually haggard for someone who normally looks anything but, Owen grounds the movie with a performance that seems game for whatever Hafstrom and Beattie throw at him, which is plenty. His character is a weak sneaker, squeaking and falling apart whenever someone walks on him, which is often. Note to Owen: Having this movie in production while you were vying for the role of James Bond might be why you lost it to Daniel Craig. Just a thought.

As for Aniston, she is less sure of herself here than she has been in her other, better movies, though you have to give it to her for breaking from type and trying something new. She doesn’t appear in a great deal of the movie, but in a key scene where she must deliver the goods, she pulls through, sporting the sort of mean mouth and hard eyes that would likely render an old friend still.

Grade: C+

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