Clive Owen and Jennifer Aniston are two adulterer-wannabes who are "Derailed" from their plans in this 2005 film. It also stars Vincent Cassel, RZA, Tom Conti and Melissa George. Charles Schine (Owen) and Lucinda Harris (Aniston) meet on a commuter train; on the night they take a hotel room to begin their affair, it's broken into by a criminal, LaRoche, who steals from both of them, rapes Lucinda repeatedly, and then continues to blackmail Charles for large sums of money. Lucinda refuses to go to the police, saying that her husband will file for divorce and take her daughter away from her.
Normally I take a film for what it is, and even if it has holes, if I really like it, I'll accept those holes. "Derailed" doesn't have holes. It has gullies. The character of Charles is completely unlikable throughout the film and a constant source of frustration. His diabetic daughter has had two or three kidney transplants, all of which were rejected by her body. For seven years, he and his wife, a teacher, have been saving money for a new antirejection drug coming on the market that the insurance won't cover. And I'm supposed to believe that he just keeps meeting LaRoche, who beats him to a pulp every time they meet, and handing him this hard-earned money that will save his daughter's life. Instead of going to the police, he honors the wishes of Lucinda. Well, forget it. Gulley number one.
Gulley number two. A young man at the office, Winston (RZA) who has been in prison decides to help out Schine. Knowing how violent and ruthless LaRoche is, Schine and Winston go alone, and Winston has an unloaded gun. Not a wise move. Didn't Winston have any buddies that could have gone along?
Gulley number three. Schine says he has two mortgages on his house and talks about how they've scrimped and saved. Question: a man, a woman, a child and a dog live in what looked to be a 10,000 square foot home in a ritzy neighborhood - gosh, ever heard of downsizing? Bet the couple of million you'd have gotten for that place would buy a lot of antirejection drugs.
With a minimum of work, a terrific, exciting, scary story could have been made into a fantastic movie with just a little restructuring and some stronger motives that made sense. Schine really didn't have a reason not to go to the police, even if he said he was mugged and left Lucinda out of it.
Clive Owen made a big splash in "Closer" and was considered for the role of James Bond. He's handsome and a wonderful actor, but if he wants a big-time film career, he's going to have to do better than this. Aniston did a good job as Lucinda, and Cassel was absolutely terrific as the revolting LaRoche.
At the end of the film, when the action and plot devices really pick up, I realized that the first hour and something had been a real waste. It had been badly DERAILED.