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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thoughtful film about two guys not thinking straight
Any thoughts that "Changing Lanes" would be a predictable film should have gone out the window as soon as you saw Samuel L. Jackson was involved. The story is about two men who do not have time for a freeway fender bender. Gavin Banek (Ben Affleck) is a lawyer who has some important papers to file to prove an ailing millionaire signed over control of his foundation to...
Published on 3 Nov 2003 by Lawrance M. Bernabo

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Starts off bold but then becomes too neat and tidy
This film starts off with a lot of potential and tries to raise some interesting moral questions about a lot of grey areas. However, by the end all the grey areas become black and white to the point it is overly simplified and too neat and tidy.
So Samuel L Jackson plays a loving father fighting for child custody who was once a alcoholic. He clearly loves his sons...
Published 13 months ago by Mr Blonde


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thoughtful film about two guys not thinking straight, 3 Nov 2003
By 
Lawrance M. Bernabo (The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Changing Lanes [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
Any thoughts that "Changing Lanes" would be a predictable film should have gone out the window as soon as you saw Samuel L. Jackson was involved. The story is about two men who do not have time for a freeway fender bender. Gavin Banek (Ben Affleck) is a lawyer who has some important papers to file to prove an ailing millionaire signed over control of his foundation to Banek's law firm. Doyle Gipson (Jackson), also has to get to court so he can show he got approved for a loan to buy a house so that his wife will not move with his two sons to Oregon. The accident itself is really nobody's fault, but everything that happens after words in this escalating war of words and deeds can be laid at the feet of Gavin and Doyle, who dive off into the deep end.
The movie ads proclaimed "One wrong turn deserves another," and it helps set the audience up for the carnage these two reap on each other's lives as their frustrations give way to anger. They have good reason to be frustrated: Doyle gets to court too late and his last chance to keep his family together is gone; Gavin arrives at court only to discover he has left the most important document behind. It turns out that this document is so important that not having it can put him and the bosses at his firm, including his father-in-law, in prison. These are two men whose lives have come to major crossroads. This is news to Gavin, but the impact is not less than it is on Doyle.
The trailer for "Changing Lanes" emphasizes the horrible things these two men manage to do to each other during the course of what is clearly the worst days of their lives. Gavin uses a computer wizard to destroy Doyle's credit rating. Doyle loosen the bolts on the wheel of Gavin's car. If somebody does not end up dead by the end of this film, then we are all going to be very much surprised. But that is what makes this film worth watching is that it is surprising, as when Gavin and Doyle both discover the true value of the lives they have been trying to lead are found in the women they have married (Amanda Peet and Kim Stauton respectively).
Ultimately, it is the ability of the script by Chap Taylor and Michael Tolkin to surprises us and lifts "Changing Lanes" above the standard Hollywood tale of urban violence. These two men could be cartoonish figures, but they become fully developed characters; not because of what they do to each other, but because of what they articulate about their lives in talking to others. Gavin confesses to his former mistress (Toni Collette) while Doyle bare his soul to his AA sponsor (William Hurt). In their initial conversation after the accident Gavin and Doyle are too worried about where they should be to have a civil conversation. Their next words are insults that they shout (and fax). But the film holds the promise that once these two men hit rock bottom that they might final turn on one another and talk.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars **** COLLISSION COURSE ****, 28 May 2003
By 
Mr. N. Carnegie (Kirkcaldy, Scotland, UK.) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Changing Lanes [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
Changing Lanes, directed by Roger Michell (Notting Hill), is an urban morality tale that centres around a road rage conflict that escalates out of control following a fender bender between an obnoxious yuppie lawyer (Ben Affleck) and a recovering alcoholic (Samuel L Jackson) desperately trying to rebuild his family life. From what should have been an easily resolved accident their row escalates into an obsessive conflict in which the ante is continually upped as they set about bringing misery and revenge to each others lives.
Despite the mixed reviews I found this to be a very intelligent and well-acted movie. Unlike most mainstream Hollywood movies it has both a point and some meaning. It offers a very insightful snapshot of the dog eat dog world that we currently co-exist in, where people are in constant competition with each other and (selfishly) no longer show any thought, courtesy, compassion or consideration for each other. In many ways Changing Lanes is an Indie movie in Hollywood clothing. However, it boasts two strong male leads in Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson, who both portray their opposing characters with depth, range and subtlety. In particular, it is refreshing to see Ben Affleck in something more substantial. The poor guy has taken such a fearful battering from critics since the ill-conceived Pearl Harbour but despite this he has made something of a comeback this year with both Changing Lanes and The Sum of All Fears. Like it or not, Ben Affleck IS a big star with a bright future. Samuel L Jackson, once again shows what a very versatile actor he is. He can be cool, he can be powerful, he can dominate the screen or as he does in this movie he can show a range of depth and subtlety beyond the vast majority of other actors. However, it is Toni Collette (Muriels Wedding, The Sixth Sense, About A Boy etc.) and legendary film producer/Director Sydney Pollack (in a rare acting appearance) that, to my mind, are the stars of this particular show in their respective supporting roles as Affleck's ex-mistress/confidante and boss/father in law. Pollack in particular gives a powerful performance as a charming father figure who switches at the drop of the hat to be a ruthless and vindictive morally corrupt businessman.
If there is a downside to this movie, it's the ending. If this was truly an Independent movie and not a Paramount produced project, then it surely would have had an ending more befitting reality and more befitting the tone of the film, with no redemption for anybody. Instead however, what we get is ultimately a cop-out (Hollywood) and they all lived happily ever after ending. Despite that though, given the worthiness of this tale and the top-notch acting performances from a fine cast, I still think its worth a go and worthy of 3.5 stars. : )
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Daft, but great fun, 20 May 2004
By 
M. SIRL "Man With Ears" (Hampshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Changing Lanes [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
A kind of 'Good Samaritan in reverse', this is a modern-day parable about the perils of selfishness. I thoroughly enjoyed this fast-paced tale of how the smallest of incidents can spark a chain of events that can really ruin your day. A little like The Accidental Hero, you find yourself sympathising with both the good guy and bad guy, with the challenge being in deciding whose side you are on. Ben Affleck, who for all his trying is never going to be an Olivier, really finds his niche here as the self-centred big city lawyer, while Samuel L Jackson as always manages to come across as both scary and likeable at the same time. While you always suspect that there is to be a happy ending, you do need to suspend belief a little as it's difficult to imagine how either party end up escaping serious injury or prison. But after all it is only a movie, and great fun at that. Settle down with the beer and pizza, and enjoy!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A welcome change, 26 Mar 2003
By 
Julian J Burns (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Changing Lanes [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
Notting Hill is held only in my appreciation because it is not ambitious: it is a simple love story, 2 hours of fantastic escapism. Changing lanes on the other hand is a stark contrast: although not as ambitious as to make it pretentious, it is an extremely thought provoking film, aided greatly by the stunning performances of both Ben Affleck and Samuel L Jackson.
This though provocation should not shy away those who want to see a film purely for entertainment; it is optional (come to think if it, isn't it always?).
To keep it simple here are the major strengths of this film: the standard of acting, the fact that Samuel L Jackson has strayed from his type casted role of a "fly" guy, the fact that Ben Affleck fits comfortably in a role with more than emotion or action and most importantly because the film allows the viewer to form his/her own opinon. Too many films nowadays are engineered to make the viewer feel in a particular way. Every viewer of this film will feel differently about it, but if you appreciate excellent cinema, you will appreciate this film.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Starts off bold but then becomes too neat and tidy, 12 Jun 2013
This review is from: Changing Lanes [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
This film starts off with a lot of potential and tries to raise some interesting moral questions about a lot of grey areas. However, by the end all the grey areas become black and white to the point it is overly simplified and too neat and tidy.
So Samuel L Jackson plays a loving father fighting for child custody who was once a alcoholic. He clearly loves his sons but can be extremely aggressive when provoked. Should he be allowed custody or not? Well yeah, because he is only aggressive to racists and bad men and he never falls off the wagon. When the film makes him so noble you remove the moral question. Same goes for Ben Affleck who is a bit of a dick at the start but believes in the law. It is a bit too obvious that he will take the noble route. My main problem was with the ending that instead of allowing the audience to make up their minds started slapping stickers on people saying "Good Guy" or "Bad Guy". There is lots of great stuff early on and some really powerful scenes including one where Ben Affleck breaks down when he learns what kind of person his wife really is. It's shot excellently and you get a nice feel of New York, especially the scenes in the rain, and has a good score and some great acting. It is worth watching once but the ending is too cute and unbelievable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the most intelligent films of 2002............., 20 Oct 2011
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Changing Lanes [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
..........Sadly hindered by its pandered ending!

Young upstart lawyer Gavin Banek and recovering alcoholic father Doyle Gipson, both have very important court appearances to keep. Unfortunately they have a minor collision on a New York freeway and during the confusion Banek loses a vital file, while Gipson misses his child custody appearance. Both men angry and bitter, start to take revenge against each other, a war that will either define both men or break them in two.

Changing Lanes stars Ben Affleck {Banek} and Samuel L. Jackson {Gipson}, and is directed by Roger Michell {Enduring Love}. Both lead actors do fine work, and the direction is smooth and unobtrusive in its execution. But it's with the writing that Changing Lanes should be noted, written by Chap Taylor {more known as a PA for Woody Allen} and Michael Tolkin {The Player & Deep Impact}, Changing Lanes is much more than your average movie about someone having a crappy day. Marketed poorly as a film about men driven to the edge of insanity fuelled bloodthirsty revenge, the piece is intricate in its plot misdirections and adroit at keeping its characters from being stereotypes. These guys are just normal human beings, no daring do heroics or villainous traits to speak of, just your everyday stressed New York inhabitant trying to survive the rat race. Each man is poles apart socially, yet both are drawn together equally in their new found insanity!

This is the crux of Changing Lanes' heart, just what will your average sane man to to another under duress? It begs a question that the writers here, thru a series of zippy twists, really open up the picture, the ironies of which are at first hard to appreciate. But Changing Lanes is a film that should be revisited, especially for those who didn't get the film that the trailer and the marketing campaign originally hinted at. Even allowing for the cop out ending, which smacks of a studio bigwig demanding an audience pleasing closure, it's a film that oozes intelligence and thought provoking astuteness. It took me two viewings to fully digest the excellence of its apparent normality, with one restaurant scene between Banek and his wife Cynthia {Amanda Peet} particularly worthy of another look. Undervaued and maybe a touch misunderstood, this most definitely is a picture worth closer consideration. 8/10
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I like the sombre fate of life, 7 Aug 2010
By 
This review is from: Changing Lanes [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
One more lawyer in one more law firm and one more crooked situation. He is married to the daughter of the boss who is a crook and stealing money from some foundation. Circumstances put him in a road accident when he is on his way to the court with a man who is an Alcoholic Anonymous, divorced, in a lawsuit with his ex-wife about the custody of the kids and is on the way to the same court. The lawyer drops a file that is essential for his case and he strands the other man on the highway on foot. Both are late in court. The lawyer manages his way out under a strict deadline condition. The other one loses his case. And then everything goes down because each one will try to pressurize the other into repairing the damage and they will cause even more damage by doing so. The film then is a thriller in a way since we expect any moment more violence and more retribution and more vengeance. Dependence is the worst thing that can hit a man, be it tobacco, alcohol, drugs or plain catastrophe or anti-social reactions. Lawyers are all crooked and perverted and sick in their minds and you can decide to do more good everyday than you do evil, if you are a lawyer you can be sure you will never keep that word. So you better give five dollars to the beggar round the corner in the street: that will probably be the only good action you will do today. Good action? My foot! Since that money is going to enrich a bar tender because the bum is going to drink it. And if you are a mischief maker, a catastrophe bringer, a crash perpetrator, you better stop drinking, stop smoking, stop getting under the influence of anything and retire into some kind of padded monastery or reclusion center for the mentally insane because there is no way you will change and the world will change. So better get used to it and let things go down the chute from bad to worse and then to the worst. Apart from that dark vision of life the film will keep you up for a while, awake too, because of the rather fast rhythm.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne, University Paris 8 Saint Denis, University Paris 12 Créteil, CEGID
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A clever thriller with a moral tale., 4 July 2010
By 
Ernie (Kent) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Changing Lanes [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
I have to admit I was expecting something along the lines of an action drama, but to give 'Changing Lanes' full credit, it's quite an original thriller about ultimately doing the right thing.
The plot revolves around two men from radically different backgrounds who due to both of their faults are involved in a minor car accident. Gavin Banek, (Ben Affleck), a is a high flying lawyer who is rushing to get to court with an important document, and to get back on his way simply offers a blank check to Doyle Gipson (Samuel Jackson) for any damage caused. On the other hand, Gipson wants to do things the right way and exchange details and refuses the check. Banek, knowing he is up against the clock rushes off and leaves Gipson stranded at the side of the road. The trouble is, while Banek was so preoccupied in getting on his way he didn't notice the document had fallen out of his briefcase and was picked up by Gipson. Ironically, Gipson was also going to the same courthouse and had Banek given him a ride, fate would have turned out differently, but instead both men become locked in a high stakes game of revenge.
That plotline alone is enough for a decent movie, but what sets 'Changing Lanes' apart is an intelligent moral subtext. What could have been just another urban action film becomes not only an exciting thriller, but a clever commentary on today's moral values, and shows in a world where we rarely put the needs of others first, doing the right thing can be far easier than doing the wrong. Ben Affleck is great as Banek, the Wall Street attorney desperately trying to recover a lost file; and shows when he chooses the right roles he's a decent actor. Samuel Jackson, as Gipson, convincingly portrays an estranged, alcoholic father struggling to salvage what's left of his life, and Roger Michell's direction perfectly captures the feeling of a frantic struggle through the oppressive streets of New York. Overall, 'Changing Lanes' is an entertaining, engaging and thought provoking film that is well worth a look.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Many wrongs never make right, 5 July 2004
By 
Amanda Richards "Hotpurplekoolaid" (ECD, Guyana) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Changing Lanes [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
This is a movie with no heroes, no nudity, no CGI and practically no fancy stunts, yet somehow it manages to hold your interest.
After feeling genuine hatred for the two lead characters, more so for Banek (Affleck) than Gipson (Jackson), I found that the ending wrapped up too quickly, too conveniently and too smoothly, and while it was reasonably watchable the first time, I probably wouldn't want to see it a second time.
Both Affleck and Jackson play their parts convincingly, and make it almost believable that a fender bender could lead to such chaos. In the real world however, Banek should have wised up to his work situation from the beginning, and Gipson would have certainly fallen off the wagon. Personally, I could never be charitable to a man who purposely sets out to destroy my family's chance for happiness, or lies about my kids safety, which makes the somewhat neat ending leave a bad taste in my mouth.
The bankruptcy story thread was unconvincing. The highly paid professional just accepting his failure with a shrug off is just not realistic. There are other parts of the movie where the lead characters cause significant damage to office property without repercussions, and some of the support actors tenuously cling to the storyline like afterthoughts.
Considering that this movie is about greed, arrogance, despair, revenge, deceit and blackmail, it does very well to maintain a reasonable entertainment value. The "positive message" comes too late to be of significant redeeming value.
Jackson's performance carries the movie as far as it can go.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Changing Lanes..., 16 Jan 2004
This review is from: Changing Lanes [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
A surprisingly good performance by fiancé of ample-bottomed Jennifer Lopez makes this film a pleasant experience, made all the better by Sam LJ's unique voice and tremendous acting skills.
Being a huge fan of Sam LJ, I decided to buy this film on the knowledge that whether the film had flopped or not, he would at least have put in a decent performance.
I was not expecting, therefore for poncy pin up Affleck to put in such a good effort.
The story begins with a car crash between Affleck and Jackson, both of whose characters are rushing to get to the same court. Affleck as a high profile lawyer, trying to seal a case from a major client accused of fraud, and Jackson in a failing attempt to salvage his marriage and keep in contact with his kids.
Upon the car crash, key papers for Affleck's case are discarded, and as a result he faces the sickening reality of the trouble he could be in, should he not be able to retrieve them.
However, for Jackson, the car crash has much more of a value to him. The twenty minutes spent in the car crash cause Jackson to be late for his case, and miss the opportunity to represent himself.
Adamant he will get an apology and his "time back" from Affleck, and with Affleck willing to do whatever he can to get his file back from the luckless Jackson, both men are willing to do whatever it takes to get what they feel is owed.
A touching, action packed film full of excellent acting, plus the whole "moral of the story" deal. Well worth a bit of a luck, even if it's only as a rental
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Changing Lanes [VHS] [2002]
Changing Lanes [VHS] [2002] by Roger Michell (VHS Tape - 2003)
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