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Overall Rating
3.54

Awesome: 8.33%
Worth A Look53.13%
Average: 25%
Pretty Bad: 11.46%
Total Crap: 2.08%

6 reviews, 60 user ratings


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Changing Lanes
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by Slyder

"Chaos theory 101"
4 stars

Changing Lanes is quite an interesting movie, and like The Insider, it’s a thriller that is more centered in internal action rather than external action. Any other fluff director would’ve added guns and explosions and miss completely the point of the script. It’s more a character study about two men whom their lives just took a left on a Good Friday into the road of self-destruction, and even though there are still parts that need to be polished, the film makes its point very well.

On one hand you have Gavin Banek (Ben Affleck), a fast-rising Wall Street lawyer in his Father-in-law Stephen’s (legendary director Sydney Pollack) firm. He’s married to Stephen’s daughter Cynthia (Amanda Peet), has a secretary/mistress Michelle (Toni Collette), and is living the high life helping with the Charity foundation which is also owned by Stephen, throwing legal ethics by the window, and giving interviews with new would-be lawyers. On the other hand, you have Doyle Gipson (Samuel L. Jackson), an insurance salesman and recovering alcoholic whom is involved in a custody battle with his ex-wife Valerie (Kim Stauton) for their two children. He’s been helped by his AA sponsor man (William Hurt), he’s bought a house in Queens and just about to get a loan from the Bank so he can start his life back again.

Both of their lives collide on the FDR highway in the form of a car crash while heading for the same court. Gavin is in too much in a hurry and after tossing Doyle a blank check and wishing him better luck next time, he leaves the scene of the accident. Doyle’s life gets fucked up thanks to this since he arrives late for court; the presiding Judge ignores Doyle’s excuses and hands the custody of the children to Valerie. Gavin’s life also gets fucked up because 1 of his 3 filings that he has to bring to court in order to offset a lawsuit for a supposed fraud in the Charity foundation is not in his briefcase… and it’s in Doyle’s possession, and it’s the most important file of the 3, and if he doesn’t find it before the court closes, the whole law firm could be in deep shit and Gavin and his boss and everyone else are in danger of going to jail. Gavin later finds Doyle and tries to apologize pathetically, but Doyle hears none of it and tells him that he threw the file away. Driven by rage, Gavin then tries to fuck with Doyle’s life in order to pressure him to give the file back (bankruptcy, smear), a situation in which Doyle will backfire at Gavin with the same type of damage.

This film is quite a change of lanes or gears for director Roger Mitchell in a sort of way since his resume includes nothing but a load of romantic comedies, amongst them Notting Hill. But Mitchell does his homework here as he brings you a well-crafted character study which centers on the pros and cons of revenge, getting even, and where does it leave you in the end. The screenplay by Chap Taylor and Michael Tolkin is well written despite certain parts that don’t fall into place and could hamper somewhat the film’s credibility like the “Fixer” scene. Still, within the whole buckets of shit that both Gavin and Doyle are throwing towards each other underlies a morality tale about the downside of revenge, and respect to each other; an analysis of how low can a human being go in order to get what he wants, regardless of the consequences and the mess he leaves by. Sure, a subject like this have been done before in several other better movies, but before you start screaming “formula,” its fairly important to realize that while the premise in the end may be the same, the road that led to it is quite different, and most importantly, is never boring. A typical formula thriller or morality tale would easily bore you because you could see it coming a mile away, but this movie’s setting is intriguing enough to draw you into it, not to mention that is very well written and acted, which also helps a lot. The ending may be a little sugarcoated but the rest of the film more than makes up for it. Cheers to Mitchell for this fine piece of work as he hopefully will start becoming a more multi-genre reliable director, as well as to Michael Tolkin, whom redeems himself from Deep Impact hell.

The cast is excellent. Ben Affleck finally redeems himself after so much shit and gives a good performance, and it’s easily his best film in 4 to 5 years. Unfortunately this comeback wouldn’t last for long, and it’s really angering, because Affleck is capable of acting but man, his talents have degraded as bad as his ability to choose scripts. If Affleck could once pull his head out of his ass and start choosing intelligent scripts like this one, he would fare a whole lot better than what he’s faring right now. Samuel L. Jackson also scores and gives the best performance on the film, and is also a boost in his career which was starting to run dry. Sydney Pollack is second-best in the film and proves once more that he’s a capable actor as well as an already proven director and I sometimes wonder how this film would’ve been had he directed it, but that’s another story. The rest of the cast are also great, including Toni Collette and notably William Hurt whom also gives a memorable moment.

In the end, despite the rough edges, the film makes its point and is one of the better releases in 2002 and in certain ways it could be destined to be sort of a minor classic. It’s a well made movie with a moral message hidden inside, and it deserves a view from time to time. A really nice treat. 4-5

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=5859&reviewer=235
originally posted: 03/10/04 06:43:15
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User Comments

9/14/17 morris campbell effective thriller 4 stars
12/05/10 fmc Jackson is more believable than Affleck. Pollack overwhelms. 4 stars
8/27/08 Shaun Wallner This movie has some great scenes in it. 4 stars
5/15/08 PAUL SHORTT BLEAK AND COMPLEX THRILLER 3 stars
1/15/07 David Pollastrini a bit slow in places but still good 4 stars
11/03/06 AJ Muller only "slow" if you can't appreciate character/story/mood - A+ for actors and script. 4 stars
8/20/05 ES This is definately one for the forgettable pile, neither inspires nor reviles 3 stars
4/03/05 Charlie Bit Slow 3 stars
3/30/05 R.W. Welch A little too contrived but manages to hold your interest. WAL most of the way. 4 stars
8/19/04 Peter B. Very good and involving! 5 stars
8/09/04 paolo enea it is a vey good movie 5 stars
7/08/04 Denise more story then i thought it would have 3 stars
6/24/04 Daveman Fails in what it aims to achieve because of the overabundance of irritating melodrama. 2 stars
4/28/04 Chaske Faulk good movie, not bad at all 3 stars
3/26/04 Alfred Guy More characters than crashes. it was better than I thought it would be. 4 stars
3/21/04 Linda Ellis Interesting story, kept my attention. 4 stars
3/18/04 Maria I thought the show was a worth looking at!! It had a good story line. 4 stars
3/17/04 Alfred Guy Better than I thought it would be. 3 stars
7/04/03 Jim Strong performances overcome a story that eventually becomes over the top. 4 stars
5/15/03 Den Beire Dont waste time and money on this. Sam jackson is, as always, the only good thing about it. 2 stars
3/25/03 Jack Sommersby Not too believable, but the story and characters are fascinating. 4 stars
11/26/02 Matthew Smith interesting film and a good cast 4 stars
11/26/02 Punk_Ass I really enjoyed the hell out of this film, nice supirse too, I saw no trailers or reviews. 4 stars
11/17/02 snowconehead Very predictable but still decent 4 stars
11/09/02 ^ZuLu^ too bad: very forseeable, too much of a stereotype, expected more of it. 3 stars
11/09/02 Nicole Too many plot holes to be ignored....irritating and horrid 2 stars
11/08/02 TLsmooth The Samuel L. I know would have bitchslapped the ho and stole the kids. 2 stars
10/19/02 palaboy101 It will make you think twice before doing something. 4 stars
10/09/02 spyguy2 At the level of made-for-TV. Totally over-rated. 2 stars
9/20/02 Phil M. Aficionado Needs to have a more credible story line before getting up on its pulpit; just so-so 3 stars
9/20/02 Eric Affleck and Jackson are wonderful, the movie is one of the year's best. 5 stars
9/13/02 rania it is very very nice, it's ethical 5 stars
9/12/02 palaboy101 Makes you think 4 stars
8/26/02 Martin I usually love Ben and Samuel....but I too wanted that time in my life back....... 2 stars
8/05/02 David A. This movie gets very preachy--be honest and don't hold grudges. Come on! Grow up! 2 stars
7/23/02 Bueller Ben Affleck as a lawyer? Right! Next, you'll say he's playing someone who works at the CIA! 3 stars
7/04/02 KMG Makes me detest the rich even more 4 stars
6/08/02 ownerofdajoint good performance by jackson/plot goes limp at end... 4 stars
6/05/02 cleansparks great movie. samuel jackson is once again excellent. 4 stars
5/26/02 Joseph Berger Excellent movie, strong writing, good acting, especially Toni Collette and Samuel Jackson, 4 stars
5/25/02 Suzz Stoopid, boring and totally implausible. 2 stars
5/24/02 Krakanova Uninspired acting, lame (but plausable) story 1 stars
5/12/02 Benjamin Leatherman Boorrrrrrring! Blah blah blah, at the end of the day I do more good than evil. Whatever. 2 stars
5/10/02 maverick Film Afficianado's spelling lacks "credability." LOL 4 stars
5/10/02 malcolm well, i'm not a lawyer. way too many of those fuckers. 4 stars
4/30/02 Film Afficianado Implausible. Lousy script. Completely lacks credability if you are a lawyer. 2 stars
4/30/02 The Bomb 69 just kept waiting for the suspense to build and then... nothing, total Hollywood ending!! 2 stars
4/27/02 Sarah really great movie--Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson are excellent!!! 5 stars
4/27/02 JZA A decent movie, but you'll forget about it minutes after leaving the theater. 4 stars
4/26/02 Andy Enjoyable though the ending was lame, should have been a tragedy. Hollywood has no balls. 3 stars
4/24/02 Jimmy James meh, worth watching once 3 stars
4/23/02 KMG Very good movie....Affleck is a shit, SLJ is pissed off as usual 4 stars
4/21/02 Janine Lay good story line, but very slow moving and boring at times 3 stars
4/20/02 Film Guy Good movie.but way to over hyped 4 stars
4/18/02 Nick2k wow. this movie was really good. this'll make up for affleck's pearl harbor crap. 5 stars
4/17/02 El Scorcho Only 4 comments? This movie looked like it sucked ass, but was involving and mature. A- 5 stars
4/15/02 Emily great 5 stars
4/15/02 Film Dude Not bad. A bit tedious though. 4 stars
4/14/02 Akira_773 Excellent movie. Don't miss, if you value your moviegoing sanity 4 stars
4/12/02 Dmitri Tiomkin The worst kind of Hollywood "formula". The plot creaks mechanically. 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  12-Apr-2002 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  21-Nov-2002




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