a critiQal film review Changing Lanes (2002)

Plot: When high-powered attorney Gavin Banok (Affleck) gets into a car accident with Doyle Gipson (Jackson), he doesn’t think much of it. Gavin tries to write a check to pay for the damages, but Gipson wants to exchange insurances. In a hurry, Gavin ends up leaving. When he gets to court (late), he realizes he has left a file with Doyle...and doesn’t even know his name.

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  • ...Samuel L. Jackson vs. Ben Affleck helps make this a decent revenge pic.

This looked intriguing when I saw the trailer awhile back. I never did get around to seeing Changing Lanes in the theaters, but definitely wanted to check it out when it came out on DVD.

I was worried, because the movie could have been filmed any number of ways. It’s basically a revenge movie, for the most part, and could have pulled out the stops to become yet another dreadful Steven Seagal-like film plot. With fingers crossed, I pushed play.

The characters were very well acted. Samuel L. Jackson, always a pleasure to watch, didn’t disappoint here. His character, a recovering alcoholic who’s family issues are causing him to lash out at people around him, was deep enough for him to really showcase his abilities, at least a little bit.

Ben Affleck, who has been good (Boiler Room (2000)) and bad (Pearl Harbor, Armageddon (1998)), gives a convincing performance as a lawyer who is trying to save his career, but then suddenly wonders if he wants to.

Changing Lanes has a good premise. It does get a little wild and crazy through certain parts of the film, as the two main characters lash out at each other, but the film does stay true to the story. It gets a little bit sappy at times, as when Affleck complains (in a confessional no less) about the state of the world these days, but more often has decent dialogue and true character.

The special effects were minimal, and tended to stay in the background. The car crashes looked realistic, and the characters never do anything outrageously unbelievable. This type of film usually has special effects that aren’t meant to be obtrusive, and the effects of the film only enhance the movie.

All in all, I’m glad I rented Changing Lanes. Samuel L. Jackson, once again, didn’t disappoint, and even Ben Affleck was able to shine a little bit. The plot was intriguing, and the movie played out well. If you’re in the mood for a bit of a revenge movie with consequences, then Changing Lanes may be right for you, too.

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