Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
USA, 2005. Di Bonaventura Pictures, Miramax, Patalex V Productions Limited. Screenplay by Stuart Beattie, based on the novel by James Siegel. Cinematography by Peter Biziou. Produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura. Music by Ed Shearmur. Production Design by Andrew Laws. Costume Design by Natalie Ward. Film Editing by Peter Boyle.
As fun as it is to see Jennifer Aniston in a sexy, serious role, it’s just about the only thing that isn’t fully predictable about Derailed. Clive Owen plays a happy family man who is helped out of an embarrassing situation on his morning ride to work by a gorgeous stranger (Aniston), then ends up becoming friends with her. Aniston really gets him in a way his patient wife (Melissa George) doesn’t, so naturally he falls in love with her and pretty soon they’re looking for a hotel room. Halfway through their tryst, however, they’re interrupted by a vicious robber (Vincent Cassel) who beats him up, steals his money and rapes Aniston. They survive the ordeal, but days later Owen is receiving phone calls demanding vast sums of money or else Cassel will tell his wife about her cheating husband. This makes life difficult for our hero, particularly as he needs his money to pay the enormous medical bills that keep his severely diabetic daughter alive and in relatively good health. Imagine if Noel Coward and David Lean had walked up to a current Hollywood studio executive with Brief Encounter in their hands and the muddled result would be the plot that unfolds here. It’s diverting, but much too cliched, and the stereotypically racist thug roles that rappers Xzibit and RZA play don’t help much either.