Derailed

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Derailed
Review (7/10)
(By Brendan Cullin)

Derailed stars Clive Owen as Charles Schine and Jennifer Aniston as Lucinda Harris. Charles and Lucinda meet on a commuter train that takes them from their miserable suburban lives to their downtown Chicago jobs. Both are in unhappy marriages, each has a beautiful daughter and their attraction to each other is immediate. After a night of dining and heavy drinking, Charles and Lucinda end up in a seedy motel and are seconds away from consumating their unfaithful relationship when a two-bit criminal named Philippe (Vincent Cassel) busts into the hotel room. In one of the most uncomfortable scenes in a movie in recent memory, Philippe beats Charles and then commits the most unthinkable of acts on Lucinda. But Philippe isn't done there. For months, he continues to terrorize Charles and demands money or he will expose the secret tryst to Charles' wife. Charles and Lucinda do not go to the police for fear of losing their woebegone spouses and in Lucinda's case, her child. Charles pays Philippe but Philippe continues to harass and blackmail Charles to the point where he must take matters into his own hands.

Derailed is a thriller with a good, but somewhat predictable, story and a decent cast. Both Owen and Aniston are quite pleasing in their respective roles but the star of this movie is Vincent Cassel. His ruthless performance as Philippe Laroche is one of the better villainous performances of the year and certainly one of the most memorable. He steals every scene every time he is on the screen.

My one problem with Derailed is that, as I said, it is slightly predictable. The movie went in a direction that about halfway through the movie I hoped and prayed it would not go. But in all fairness, it was able to take this predictability and still make it fairly interesting. Even the ending, although it drags on a bit, is satisfying despite its "Hollywood-ness". I have to say, I don't think I would have been happy if the movie would have ended any other way.

Overall, Derailed isn't a landmark movie nor would I consider it Jennifer Aniston's breakthrough role, as I have heard it is. I'll give her credit - she plays a character who does things that you would not expect old Rachel Green to do. But she is not the star of this movie. That honor goes to Mr. Vincent Cassel, who carries this movie almost from beginning to end. If you can get through the awkward moments of Derailed, you will probably find this movie to be a passable thriller that will keep you interested for almost the entire two hour running time.

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