Directed by Mikael Håfström, starring Clive Owen, Jennifer Aniston, Vincent Cassel, Melissa George, Addison Timlin, RZA, Xzibit and Giancarlo Esposito.

Adapted from James Siegel's novel, 'Derailed' is a thriller which, despite the negativity surrounding it, can suck you in and keep you engaged.

Charles Schine (Owen) is a man stuck in a rut. The illness of his daughter Amy (Timlin) forced him into an executive job in Chicago that pays for necessary treatment for her but leaves him empty inside. As a result, his relationship with his wife Deanna (George) - almost inevitably - suffers from neglect.

One morning Charles boards a train without a ticket after forgetting that Deanna has emptied his wallet of its cash content. A fellow passenger, Lucinda Harris (Aniston), comes to his rescue by coughing up the fare. They chat and find they have a lot in common. Then, before you can say 'adultery', they make a bee-line to a seedy hotel in order to relieve themselves of each other's attire.

Things go awry, however, when their amorous actions are interrupted by a mugger. The assailant, Philippe LaRoche (Cassel), wants more than a few bills and cruelly plays on Charles' guilt.

The main thing the film has going for it is the concentration on the character of Charles. Clive Owen portrays the paralysis of the situation his character finds himself in to perfection. It would have been easy to overact the part, but the Englishman's emasculation remains believable throughout.

Jennifer Aniston may be forever haunted by the ghost of Rachel past (and seemingly future now that she has reportedly signed up for further episodes of 'Friends'), but she should sleep at least a little easier after this performance. She misfires in some respects, but undoubtedly nails the most difficult scene.

Still, what could prove to be a small step forward for her career may ultimately reflect badly on the movie. Unfortunately, the baggage she carries from her time on the globally-successful sitcom appears to be no closer to being stowed away.

RZA is competent as small-time hoodlum Winston. Even X to the Z takes time out from pimping clapped out old American bangers to give a 'Grand Theft Auto'-like performance as Dexter, LaRoche's lackey-in-crime.

Some may argue that the ending is blatantly obvious, or that it goes one twist too far. Many will see things differently, though. And in any case, after three weeks of having to endure the media feeding frenzy of 'Celebrity Big Brother', some of us need something to exercise our brains and help rediscover the will to live.

Morrissey once sang with The Smiths that "It's so easy to laugh/It's so easy to hate/It takes guts to be gentle and kind". Follow the Manchester master's advice and give this one a chance. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Séamus Leonard