(15, 107 mins) Starring Clive Owen, Jennifer Aniston, Vincent Cassel, Melissa George, RZA, Xzibit, Giancarlo Esposito, David Morrissey. Directed by Mikael Hafstrom.

Derailed, a psychological thriller, is adapted from James Siegel's instantly forgettable bestseller, which commits the cardinal sin of signposting the twists before the climax.

For all its faults, Siegel's book sustains a modicum of suspense through its serpentine turns and surprises and the descriptions of violence - especially towards women - are queasily unsettling.

Screenwriter Stuart Beattie, who penned the script for Collateral, retains the convoluted plotting but sanitises the nastier elements of the story, relying on our imagination to fill in the blanks.

Clive Owen and Jennifer Aniston are an attractive pairing but they fail to kindle any tangible sexual chemistry. Nor do their performances carry enough emotional weight to draw us into their characters' hellish predicament.

Charles Schine (Owen) and Lucinda Harris (Aniston) are commuters. By chance, they catch each other's eye and before long, the corporate high-flyers - both married with children - go out for a drink, which eventually leads to an illicit liaison in a downtown Chicago hotel.

In the heat of their ardour, Charles and Lucinda are shocked when a gun-toting stranger, LaRoche (Cassel), bursts into their hotel room and threatens them at gunpoint, turning their worlds upside down.

Lucinda refuses to involve the police for fear of exposing her infidelity. She begs Charles to remain silent, too, for the sake of his wife Deanna (George) and 14-year-old diabetic daughter Amy (Timlin).

Suddenly, the adulterers face a nightmarish reality in which they are pawns in a deadly game of violence and betrayal. Then a wily police officer, Detective Church (Esposito), arrives at Charles's office, asking difficult questions.

This is Swedish director Mikael Hafstrom's English-language feature-film debut. It's a poor choice for such a talented filmmaker, who shows little of the flair and confidence evident in his Oscar-nominated Evil, a deeplyaffecting portrait of institutional violence in a boy's boarding school.

Owen is too cool and collected and you wouldn't believe Charles' life was crashing down around him. And Aniston's casting - against type - falls flat.

Cassel is an odd, though suitably menacing, addition to the mix and supporting players, including George and Timlin, barely get a look-in.