It's hard to tell what "Derailed" is trying to do. Is it trying to be a film noir where every single character is despicable, or is it trying to be a normal thriller where a single protagonist must solve a mystery and the audience follows along, rooting for him/her to succeed?
If the plot is any indication, the filmmakers behind this piece of crap aren't nearly smart enough to make a plausible film noir. Hell, they probably don't even know what film noir is. So, that leaves us with the conclusion that the filmmakers thought they were making a compelling thriller, which means that they're stupid.
To make matters worse, there's plenty in the film that smacks of outright racism. While no character is particularly likable, Charles Schine (Clive Owen) is still the film's central character, forcing the audience to put themselves in his position. With his marriage to Deanna (Melissa George) seemingly stressed to the breaking point with a daughter (Addison Timlin) in need of an organ transplant, Chuck goes looking for love, or at least sex. He finds it on the train in the form of Lucinda Harris (Jennifer Aniston) and they head to a hotel room and are about to consummate their passion when Philippe Laroche (Vincent Cassell) breaks into the room, beats the crap out of Charles and rapes Lucinda.
Because Lucinda doesn't want anyone to know, they don't go to the cops as Charles suggests. Next thing Chuck knows, Philippe is threatening to harm him and his family and demanding money and Charles can't go to the cops for fear of hurting Lucinda more. He's just got to protect her, you know. It's at this point that anyone with a brain should see where this is going. Lucinda is obviously involved.
The film's racism takes hold in the form of Winston (RZA) who works in Chuck's office. They have that sort of lovely white/black relationship where they're friends yet they're both able to maintain their cultural identities. Of course, when it comes to putting a hurt on somebody, Charles turns to Winston to help him out because Winston has been in the joint and knows how to intimidate people and well, Winston is the only black guy Chuck knows. Furthermore, Winston likes Chuck because Chuck didn't tattle on him when he caught Winston trying to steal some company computers. Nevertheless, being best buds and all doesn't stop Winston from asking for 10k to scare off Laroche.
And you'd think that after Lucinda and Laroche are done taking every last penny that Charles has, they'd skip town and set up shop elsewhere. Unfortunately, they're not that smart. Not only do they not skip town, Lucinda sets up shop on the same train, allowing Charles to track her down easily and take his revenge.
And after this is all over, after Chuck has cheated on his wife, nearly lost their life savings and his daughter's chance of survival, and murdered a few people, "Derailed" ends with him walking into his home and into the understanding arms of Deanna. Apparently, she gets it now. All Charles needed was her love. All is well in the land of the stupid.
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