DERAILED (Mikael Hafström). 117 minutes. Opens Friday (November 11). For venues and times, see Movie Listings. Rating: NN
Married people who meet exciting strangers in mysterious movie settings really ought to know better. Unlike mundane, real-life affairs, movie infidelities always end with an ice-pick or some poor bunny getting boiled. So unless Derailed is your very first time at the movies, don't expect any surprises. Clive Owen plays an American husband stressed by his work, his wife, and the precarious health of his diabetic daughter. When he sparks up a conversation with Jennifer Aniston on a commuter train, you know he'll have to pay. The plot takes one or two clever detours, but there's never any doubt that it's headed for grim payback. When it comes, the retribution is brutal and free of irony. This is sincere violence.
But the story is so ploddingly familiar, it's hard to see why Owen and Aniston agreed to participate. It's beneath his talent and her clout. Vincent Cassel , on the other hand, gets a juicy role as the French villain -- so juicy and so French that it invites a post-9/11 foreign policy reading.
If you really want to see Owen in a hard-edged romance, rent Closer. If you really want to see Aniston play a femme fatale, ask yourself why.