Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Derailed - film review

Derailed, a 2005 thriller, is a film I've watched a couple of times now. It's one of those movies that did not seem to go down well with the critics, but which has been relatively popular with audiences. Perhaps I watched it in tolerant mood, but overall I think it is much better than many reviews suggest - fast-moving, and with plenty of twists, several of them pretty good.

The set-up is, admittedly, not desperately original. A businessman (Clive Owen), married with a disabled daughter, is finding home life and work trying, and when he meets an attractive businesswoman (Jennifer Aniston, showing that there is more to her acting range than Friends), the result is predictable. They finish up in a seedy hotel - but an armed man breaks in, and what happens after that is life-changing.

Owen soon finds himself in a downward spiral of deceit and despair, and becomes a blackmail victim. The obvious (if unattractive) solution is to involve the police, all the more so when a man he is with is brutally murdered by the bad guy (cleverly played by Vincent Cassel, who was almost as unpleasant in Black Swan). But no, he has to do it his way, and this makes for tense watching, even though disbelief needs to be suspended somewhat. When the story seems to have come to an end, there is a coda set in a prison which I didn't see coming.

The film is based on a novel by James Siegel - one of many crime writers who has also had a successful career in advertising. Owen, an actor I really like, and Aniston are both very good, and Melissa George, who has a rather limited role as Owen's gorgeous but grumpy wife, is also appealing. Add Cassell to the mix, and you have a cast that makes the most of the script, and the resulte is very watchable.

1 comment:

Ed Gorman said...

Thanks for reviewing this. I've seen it a few times and have enjoyed it. So has my wife who has much better taste than I have. I thought both the acting and the pacing were extremely well done and the twists, as you say, really surprising. Never could figure out why the critics hated it esp. given all the crapola they like.