Prayer Focus
Movie Review

Derailed

MPAA Rating: R for strong disturbing violence, language and some sexuality

Reviewed by: Sheri McMurray
CONTRIBUTOR

Very Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Thriller
Length:
1 hr. 50 min.
Year of Release:
2005
USA Release:
November 11, 2005 (wide)
Featuring: Clive Owen, Jennifer Aniston, Melissa George, Vincent Cassel, Robert “The RZA” Diggs
Director: Mikael Håfström
Producer: Lorenzo Di Bonaventura, Jonathan Gordon, Jeremy Steckler
Distributor: The Weinstein Company
Copyright, The Weinstein Company
Copyright, The Weinstein Company
Copyright, The Weinstein Company
Copyright, The Weinstein Company
Relevant Issues
Copyright, The Weinstein Company

Adultery

Relationship information
Learn how to make your love the best it can be. Discover biblical answers to questions about sex, marriage, sexual addictions, and more.

How can I deal with temptations? Answer

Should I save sex for marriage? Answer

What are the consequences of sexual immorality? Answer

They never saw it coming.

Nothing beats a good Hitchcock like “Number Seventeen,” or “Blackmail,” and “Strangers on a Train.” Take all these, a pinch of “Double Indemnity,” a sexy brunette on the Chicago “L” and a man who has trouble at home, trouble on the job, trouble with medical bills for his little daughter’s kidney transplant and is just dumb enough about the real world around him to get into big trouble with an evil extortionist and you’ve got “Derailed.”

I repeat, nothing will ever beat a good Hitchcock.

Chicago advertising exec, Charles Schine (a rather sad, lonely Clive Owen) has a lovely wife (nearly too beautiful for the part of a Mom, Melissa George) who works tirelessly to help bring in her share of the much needed savings for the third kidney transplant of their sweet diabetic 14 year old daughter, Amy (Addison Timlin). He has given up his meager teaching job for the big city bucks of an ad executive. Along with his devoted wife, they have been socking away all their money, plus mortgaged the house a couple of times, for the past seven years. Devoting all their time and attention to their delicate child while grossly neglecting each other in the process.

Relentless hours of work with no vacation, the stress of being on the kidney transplant waiting list, and the fear that he will not get to his daughter in time when she has her next diabetic seizer, has Charles in a funk.

One fateful morning Charles has rushed out of the house without train fare and when confronted by a most disagreeable attendant to pay up or get off, he finds a beautiful stranger (Jennifer Aniston being irresistibly intriguing) paying for his ticket.

They exchange names and business cards and seem to have a lot in common. Just as Charles’ world seems to be falling apart, he finds the company of Lucinda Harris a most welcome and even therapeutic option. He asks her out for lunch, then dinner another night, then drinks on another occasion, and the proverbial carnal snowball gets rolling.

Charles and Lucinda allow their feelings to guide them on a fated evening after drinks. They, seemingly by chance, find a seedy out of the way hotel where they fall into each other’s arms in what seems more like a physical expression of consolation rather than desire. They never get around to actual sex, for as we say in the trade, the plot then thickens.

It is here that “Derailed” lives up to its name and takes this man way off track.

A simple mistake of leaving a door unlocked makes these characters pay dearly for the rest of the film. A brutal mugger with a French accent (Vincent Cassel who plays his part better than anyone else in the movie) breaks into the room, knocks Charles almost unconscious and while Charles lies in a helpless state of suspended animation, rapes Lucinda.

Although he tries to insist upon it, Lucinda will not let Charles report this to the police for fear her husband will leave her taking her beautiful baby daughter with him. Understanding her angst, wanting to protect her and believing he can cover up the incident Charles explains to everyone, including his more-then-your-average-understanding wife, that he worked late at the office and was then brutally beaten and mugged. Charles keeps the painful incident to himself in the false belief that this was a one time deal and life will return to “normal.”

As you may well surmise, this is just the beginning as “Derailed” tries to meld good acting, plot twists, a sadistic villain and what we might settle for as a surprise ending into a stock thriller.

As narratives like this go, there are a few moments of genuine surprise, but nothing extremely fresh. Without giving too much away, I’ll say that one must keep in mind: two or three wrongs definitely do not make a right. The finale to this tale wants the audience to believe that revenge is sweet, that the good guy can get away with bad things and that our main character, Charles, will never have to pay for his sins.

The R-rating cinches the fact that no one under the age of 18 should view this film! On a Christian level, no one should see this one anyway. The acting is good and the story is pretty well written, but the vulgar language (the f-word runs rampant) and explicit sex, violence and godless behavior should keep the concerned Christian far away. The plot is sprinkled with crooked cops, hookers, extortion, drunkenness, guns, beatings, sexual immorality, deceit, rape and murder. All subjects that go hand in hand with a thriller of this genre, but as I said, not subjects most adult Christian viewers will feel comfortable with viewing for entertainment.

God has much to say about murder, lying, the lips of the immoral woman, corruption, and the like, but the subjects which stood out to me in this movie were adultery and “getting away with murder” as it were, without penalty.

The character of Lucinda pointed out the fact that even though they never had sex, the fact still remains that they intended to and that in itself was wrong. Job 31:1 asks that we make a covenant with our eyes to avoid lust. Matthew 5:28 and 15:19 tells us in no uncertain terms that adultery begins with the eyes and starts within the heart. Leviticus 18:20 states that sexual intercourse with a neighbor’s wife is forbidden. Acts 15:20 tells us to abstain from sexual immorality in any form and on a most final note, 1 Corinthians 10:8 declares sexual immorality brings judgment.

Crimes must not go unpunished or else we humans would gain a false sense of superiority. Perhaps the Charles character ended with believing God wasn’t looking and didn’t care about his sins, as Psalm 50:21 tells us. Ecclesiastes 8:11 lets us know that when crime is not punished the people do wrong. If we don’t know that sin is something not to toy with we adopt the very dangerous position that we are safe within our sins: Jeremiah 21:13.

Make no mistake, the sins depicted in “Derailed” separate us from God. They are not only a shame and a disgrace, but without Christ they ultimately lead to death—Romans 7:14-15—and the Lake of FireRevelation 21:8. No sin goes unnoticed and no sin goes unpunished. It is a grave mistake to think God does not see!

Do not become “derailed” along your track of life as the hopeless characters in this entertaining thriller. Heed the signals and be prepared to change tracks today. “Honor God and obey His commands, because this is all people must do” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

Let The Lord’s truths define the way you navigate through your life. Observe them and enjoy secure passage. Ignore them and you’ll find yourself crashed against the turnstile of the reality of sin.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Heavy

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer Comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—…Yes, the film has a large load of foul language. I do believe, however, that filmmakers are trying to mirror real life and how real people would react in a given situation. Like it or not, cursing is extremely prevalent in our society. I work in the surgical suite of one of our area’s premier health care facilities and every day, even amongst the highest of professionals, I hear language that would make the movie’s characters squirm.

…the “rape” (more on that later) is not nearly as graphic as some would have you believe, with the closest thing to nudity being Lucinda unzipping Charlie’s pants. If you watch the movie in it’s entirety-WARNING-SPOILERS!!-you will come to find that it wasn’t a rape at all, instead a great acting job by two con artists out to extort Charlie’s money.

The film in no way portrays adultery as something positive or glamorous, instead showing it to be an act which makes Charlie’s life a living hell…
My Ratings: Offensive / 4½
—Will, age 28
Positive—I disagree and I agree with the majority of the reviews out there about the new Jennifer Anniston and Clive Owen film “Derailed.” “Derailed” is another run of the mill, predictable yet engaging thriller with all of the formulaic trimmings. The moment I sat down I was able to predict the outcome of the movie, however Derailed was not quite as off the track as most are saying. The movie still has enough to grab you and pull in and delivers decent amount of twists and turns to keep you thinking.

Derailed is the story of a man named Charles who is married to a beautiful wife who he is on the ropes with, and he has a daughter who is suffering from diabetes. Charles and his wife have sold their luxurious home in order to save for some futuristic equipment that will help their daughter with her disease . While being unexpectedly delayed at home with domestic matters, he is forced to take a later train to work. While on this train he meets this strikingly sexy lady played by Jennifer Anniston. Within a matter of days, they decide to have an affair. The choose their hotel carefully and right when things are about to get moving, something happens that throws the movie into full swing. (I am purposefully not going to say any more because I do not want to give away the plot or twists of the film.)

What I did not like about the movie was the fact that there were so many things I could guess, and yes there was even quite a bit of bad scripting. The actors, contrary to popular opinion, were very good and I believe delivered solid performances. But not even good acting can save this movie from being just your standard issue thriller. Like I said before, there was enough to keep the audience engaged and it did deliver a great ending and the movie did have good acting. I only wish the movie had more substance. Immediately after seeing this movie, I actually picked it apart quite a bit, however this is one that you just go watch and try to enjoy it for what it is. A formulaic thriller with a twist.

A quick warning: The movie does contain one rape scene WITHOUT nudity that is just downright hard to handle. Many of the women were very uncomfortable and everyone was left kind of sick afterwards. There was not any nudity and you did not see all of the scene occur because it was more of a fade away but you could hear it all take place and that was enough. The movie does not have any nudity and does contain your standard R rated language. I would NOT recommend this movie for kids or teens. …
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 3
—John Kehrli, age 31
Negative
Negative—It’s almost a shame to give such a fine film like this one a negative rating. What this means is that Clive Owen and Jennifer Aniston give brilliant, compelling performances that, unfortunately, come close to depicting what real people might do given the circumstances. HOWEVER, the filmmakers have forgotten the responsibility they have when understanding the power of this medium. Despite the obvious sin in this movie—any action-thiller out there has scenes like this. The intensity of the rape scene, in particular, sent my wife crying out of the room. In ten years of loving and being with her, She has never reacted in such a way and we’ve watched some pretty offensive films that, to her credit, she simply says she would never watch again. The film quality, the acting (maybe too good,) and the Directing are superb! Unfortunately, it seems the filmmakers failed to actually screen this film before releasing it. This film somehow slipped through the rating system, because it blurred the line between acceptable and unacceptable behavior—both by the characters and the filmmakers. We rented this movie, and my wife and I were so disturbed by the story depicted AND the irresponsibility of the filmmakers that we didn’t finish viewing it.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 5
—Jamie Lara, age 36
Negative—I would highly recommend NOT seeing this movie. Myself and a friend went to see this knowing that there would probably be some questionable scenes because of simply the rating, but did not expect it to be even as bad as it was. We actually left not even an hour into the movie. The level of immoral behavior was disgusting and not to mention that their was a rape scene which left you feeling like the victim. This completely depicted opposite of what Christianity holds to regarding marriage. This was the biggest waste of my money and would be of yours also.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 4
—Danielle, age 23
Negative—This was the most offensive movie I have ever sat down to watch. I did not make it through the entire movie. I admit movies have always been a downfall for me and there are movies I have sat all the way through that I regret; however, I walked out on this movie before it was even halfway over. Where some movies imply awful situations like rape, this movie showed so much that I left the theater shaking and had bad dreams that night. I went with 6 other people and they all felt it necessary to leave. I don’t think Scripture is even needed to support not paying to watch someone get brutally raped, but, if so, Psalm 101:3a says, “I will set no sinful thing in front of my eyes…” It also says in 1 Corinthians 6:12a that “everything is permissible for me”—but not everything is “beneficial.” And as someone who has already made the mistake of sitting through part of this movie, I can say with confidence that there is nothing beneficial in this movie.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 1
—Brittany, age 21
Negative—I was sickened by the rape scene. It made me physically sick to my stomach. I was not aware of this movie being so suggestive. The language was bad. I think it could have done without the language or rape scene and been a better movie. Except for the adultery suggestion also. They should have left Clive Owen unmarried(widowed with child) would have made it morally a better movie Overall, I wouldn’t recommend anyone to view this movie.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 3
—Michelle, age 28
Movie Critics
…starts on the wrong track and goes nowhere fast…
—E! Online
…Not as sharp as you might want, but still a serviceable shot of shiny escapism…
—Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
…a junky thriller that mistakes brute-strength plot twist, showy violence… for earned excitement…
—Entertainment Weekly, Lisa Schwarzbaum