Reviewed by: Sheri McMurray
|Featuring||Clive Owen, Jennifer Aniston, Melissa George, Vincent Cassel, Robert “The RZA” Diggs|
|Producer||Lorenzo Di Bonaventura, Jonathan Gordon, Jeremy Steckler|
|Distributor||The Weinstein Company|
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 Fire—Revelation 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.