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"Derailed"

Directed by Mikael Håfström.
Written by Stuart Beattie.  Based on a novel by James Siegel.
Starring Clive Owen, Jennifer Aniston, Vincent Cassel and the RZA.
Release Year:  2005
Review Date:  11/14/05

Folks-- 

Prior to being sucked in to a great college football Saturday, I stopped by the local multiplex to check out the new thriller "Derailed."  The film follows a married ad exec (Clive Owen) in Chicago that initiates an extramarital affair with a woman he meets on his train ride to work one day, a financial advisor named Lucinda (Jennifer Aniston).  As they attempt to consummate their fling, the twosome are caught red-handed by a perp (Vincent Cassel) and the perp launches a blackmail campaign that gets really costly for everyone involved...so costly that it ends up taking lives!

Here's what I'll tell you:

  1. "Derailed" has the most oddball casting of the year, far and away the winner in this category.  How crazy?  How about Clive Owen--Oscar nominee and professional actor--doing about a quarter of his scenes with the mail guy in his ad office, played by...the RZA, from Wu-Tang Clan???  How about Vincent Cassel--French film star and husband of hottie Monica Bellucci--partnered with fellow bad guy...Xzibit???  Jennifer Aniston plays one love interest, Melissa George (from the third season of "Alias", she played Vaughn's wife) playing an unknowing spouse...at times, the actors don't always fit.  Luckily, Cassel is excellent and you get behind the Owen character as he tries to figure out what's happening.

  2. The "twist" in this flick was so obvious to me that I was visibly shocked when others in my audience gasped as the twist was unfurled, after it is revealed late in the film.  I am normally too caught up in flicks--no matter how bad they are--to give a shit about what the twist is going to be, but in this one, you can pretty much figure it out five minutes after things start to go wrong for the lead character.  Very poor.

  3. The filmmaking of "Derailed"--in terms of the editing, the staging of action scenes, the soundtrack, the aesthetics--is surprisingly poor; it looks a bit low budget for a cast of this ilk.  The performances are as good as the writing--average, mostly--but that was left in the hands of trained professionals, who are mostly decent with the exception of the RZA, who should stick to the rap game.  But the production as a whole doesn't feel as smooth or as slick or maybe as dangerous as I thought it would be, given that it's a thriller from Miramax.

  4. The last ten minutes of this one was so violent I couldn't control my laughter by the time...well, you'll see.  It's like, hey, we're a psychological mindfuck thriller for a little while with a taste of adultery...and, whammo, the last ten minutes goes all "True Romance" on us!  Some of the Aniston fans were not prepped for how it all turns out, which made me laugh like a little schoolgirl.

You know, for the most part, given the players involved and what seems like a good summer read (it's based on a novel), "Derailed" is a failure.  The Cassel performance and how the movie eventually plays out kept me awake, but overall, skip this and don't give it a second thought.

Rating:  Rental

 

Comments?  Drop me a line at justin@bellviewmovies.com.

 

Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/bellviewmovies.com except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09