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Genius Products presents
Derailed (2005)

"My mom was Catholic. I got all kinds of guilt."
- Charles Schine (Clive Owen)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga   
Published: March 13, 2006

Stars: Clive Owen, Jennifer Aniston, Vincent Cassel
Other Stars: Xzibit, RZA, Melissa George, Addison Timlin
Director: Mikael Håfström

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (strong disturbing violence, language, some sexuality)
Run Time: 01h:52m:27s
Release Date: March 21, 2006
UPC: 796019786492
Genre: suspense thriller

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

So many of today's thrillers rely heavily on one or more major plot twists that change the entire balance of the story. I'm a sucker for these pictures. Whether we're talking about Identity or The Usual Suspects (the perfect, modern "twister"), this genre requires viewers to suspend their disbelief more than others. While such projects used to be rare treats, it seems like they are now all too common. Naturally, the well is running dry as far as original story ideas go, so these thrillers suffer by becoming more and more predictable with each effort.

2005's Derailed is one of these twisty thrillers, but it has a problem; the big reveal can be telegraphed a mere 15 minutes into the film. Everything beyond the twist is entirely too easy to see as well, down to the inevitable click sound when the bad guy's gun runs out of bullets at a pivotal moment. Once everything is out in the open and things are resolved, there's still 20 minutes left. And instead of redeeming the flawed first 90 minutes, things become even more ridiculous, with a clichéd fight-to-the-death scene tacked on for what amounts to a second finale. A slight lack of logic can be forgiven in this type of film, but this one is completely illogical from start to finish, and therefore impossible to take seriously.

Charles Schine (Clive Owen) is a marketing executive dealing with work-related stress, struggling to keep his marriage to Deanna (Melissa George) strong, and caring for his sick daughter, Amy (Addison Timlin). One particularly grim day he meets a lovely woman, Lucinda Harris (Jennifer Aniston), on a train. After lending him the money for his ticket, they have dinner together and end up at a seedy Chicago hotel. They are interrupted by Philippe LaRoche (Vincent Cassel), a thief who bursts into their hotel room, robs Charles, and rapes Lucinda. LaRoche continues to call Charles after the incident, demanding that he pay him more money to keep his mouth shut about his near-tryst with Lucinda. Charles must decide between paying LaRoche (and giving up the money Amy needs to combat her diabetes), or drawing the line and telling Deanna the truth.

An incredibly talented cast is completely wasted here, with everyone basically phoning it in. It's rare for Clive Owen to give a poor performance, but here, as an Everyman who has to toughen up and become a hero by the end, the script never gives him the chance to take such a formulaic role to a respectable level. Jennifer Aniston isn't in the movie as much as its marketing would lead you to believe, but when she's on screen, she comes across as stiff and uninterested. The only actor who shines is Vincent Cassel. He oozes nastiness, and seems to be having a blast playing the heavy, a role he frequents and in which he never disappoints.

Usually, I'll give any twist-driven thriller a chance, but Derailed is so uninvolving, it's nearly impossible to invest even in the first reel. There's virtually no chemistry between Owen and Aniston, and that's a killer to the grand scheme of things, especially for the first half of the film. This lack of chemistry proves even more detrimental, as we're given ample time to pick apart the plot, exposing its numerous flaws.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: D


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: This 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation is full of sharp, detailed images, but it's a shame that such a recent film has some grain and dirt. This generally (and intentionally) dark, gritty-looking feature has an intentionally drab color scheme that never suffers from bleeding or other blemishes.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
English, Frenchyes

Audio Transfer Review: The sound is available in Dolby Digital 5.1, and it's nothing spectacular. The few action sequences, including loud gunshots, utilize the surrounds while not overdoing it. There's tight, aggressive bass during these scenes, with the dialogue staying clear and blending in well with the rest of the mix.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Scary Movie 4, Transamerica, The Matador
3 Deleted Scenes
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: There are only a few extras, including a series of previews, the trailer for Derailed, and three deleted scenes. These clips run a total of 10 minutes and feature further exposition about Amy's illness and a revelation from Deanna.

The Making of Derailed is an eight-minute featurette that's heavy on cast and crew interviews and also includes some on-set footage.

Extras Grade: C+


Final Comments

Leaving some logic behind is often necessary for thrillers, but Derailed asks a little too much of its audience. The DVD isn't that special either, featuring slightly above-average audio and video, and only a handful of extras.


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