In interviews for Derailed, star Clive Owen has described the movie by saying it's about two married characters who choose to have an affair—and then pay big time consequences. This setup gives the impression that the film is a portrait of a marriage broken. One may assume the movie will attempt to dissect the real-world pain and consequences of breaking the marital bond and a relationship's trust.
But that isn't what this movie is about. There are consequences, but they aren't what you might think. And there is some wrestling over decisions and guilt, but not because of the choice to commit adultery. Instead, very early on the movie sells out its focus on a family broken by infidelity to set up a convoluted and unoriginal crime/revenge plot.
As the film begins, we see that harried father and husband Charles Schine (Owen) greatly loves his diabetic daughter Amy, but his marriage to wife Deanna (Melissa George) has grown mundane. They no longer kiss in the mornings as they leave for work. Charles feels unappreciated at home and at work. But then one morning, he meets banker Lucinda Harris on the train to work. She takes interest in him, and Charles finds a new energy and excitement in Lucinda. Their morning train rides grow into lunches, and soon dinners after work. Before they know it, they kiss and make the decision to go to a hotel.
Up to this point, the film is a pretty fascinating portrait of a man, frustrated and reigned in by suburban life, taking slippery steps down a dangerous path. But then, the movie changes. Before Lucinda and Charles become intimate, a true nightmare strikes and sends Charles' life reeling. Now harassed and bribed by vicious criminals, Charles has to fight for his family with no one to turn ...1
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