Saturday, November 26, 2005
Derailed is a B Movie (and that's intended as a mild compliment), a film noir bien spectrale (that French expression, which I just made up, means that the story is like film noir, but the visual presentation is attractive and colorful), and it's played by A list actors.
Jennifer Aniston is believable and compelling; Clive Owen not quite so much.
The film has two flaws. First, the story is not grounded in a place -- it seems to be a little bit British and a little bit American. Much of the strength of noir and B movies is their evocation of very specific and troubled places. Second, the story, while engaging and sometimes exciting, is full of holes and inconsistencies (like the arithmetic in this paragraph), and the surprises could have been plucked from a computer program of acceptable twists in a romantic mystery. Thirdly, it's a sort of romantic mystery, but there is no great romance or passion, and it never makes it to erotic thriller. (That's one of the troubles with casting an A list actress -- few are fierce enough to do the edgy erotic material a great film noir mystery deserves.)
The result is an enjoyable film, that's worth a trip to the movies or an evening with the DVD, but that won't make many ten best lists.