Plot – When two married business executives having an affair are blackmailed by a violent criminal, the two must turn the tables on him to save their families – Derailed.
Director – Mikael Håfström
Released – 2005
Despite all his creative flares, Mikael Håfström’s Derailed was never likely to win any awards, but what’s surprising is just how mediocre his second attempt at turning a popular novel into a film turned out to be. With the resulting movie just another middle-of-the-road mystery-thriller filled with so-so acting and an overly complicated story riddled with cliches and plot-wholes that soon fades from your memory.
Derailed explores how far a man (Clive Owen) will go to stop his unfaithfulness come to light and those who are willing to use that for financial gain. The plot isn’t all that dissimilar from Unfaithful (2000) minus the surprises. This cat-and-mouse fails to do anything new or surprising, with the one-dimensional characters repeatedly making unrealistic decisions that signpost the upcoming “twists” and leaves you knowing the ending way before you get there.
As for the acting, this is the most disinterested and mediocre I’ve ever seen Clive Owen. in Derailed his character Charles is clearly a complete idiot and the further he buries himself in these troubles, the less sympathetic you become.
The same has to be said for Jennifer Aniston as Lucinda Harris, who starts off interesting, but as the plot progresses, her character fades into the background as the men take over. The only character that felt interesting and not a complete waste of the actor’s talents is the villain well-played by Vincent Cassel. Sure, his character is still one-dimensional and unexplored, but at least Cassel gave it his all.