Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Changing Lanes |
Actors: Ben Affleck, Samuel L. Jackson
Director: Roger Michell
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Late for court, an attorney weaves in and out of traffic. In a different lane, a father whose right to see his children rests on getting to court on time. A minor accident will turn these two strangers into beasts.
One of the Most Underrated Movies in Years
Kasey Driscoll | 07/05/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"South African director Roger Michell directs this hit suspense thriller starring Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson. Michell is actually very skilled and has a tremendous amount of mainstream appeal. He also directed last years Venus, which was another solid film albeit very different from Changing Lanes. Ben Affleck plays Gavin, a successful Wall Street attorney who must file a power of appointment for his company, which is run by his father-in-law played by Sydney Pollack. The document will sign a company over to his law firm and that company is owned by a dying man. Ethical questions certainly surround the document and as things unfold we find out even more. Doyle is played by Samuel L. Jackson, he is an insurance salesman and a recovering alcoholic who wants badly to restore his family before his wife takes his children away to the west coast. We get the feeling that Doyle is a wounded man and his actions are unacceptable at times. Actually both characters are deeply flawed and that is what makes their collision so engaging.
On his way to court to file this crucial document, Gavin gets into a car accident with Doyle. He doesn't prioritize the accident and instead must leave the scene to make it to court on time. Doyle's car will not drive and he is in the middle of a highway median when Gavin takes off in a rush. It of course begins to rain. Doyle himself was on his way to court and when he eventually gets there he finds out that he is too late. His goal was to surprise his wife with a mortgage loan he just received so his family would stay. He was attempting to get some resolution to whatever chaos he may have caused his family before this movie begins. Unfortunately for Gavin the power of appointment was left at the scene of the accident and is in Doyle's possession. Doyle, sour for being left in the rain on the highway and missing his chance in court, refuses to give Gavin the document. Needless to say they both have reasonable vendettas against one another and the battle they have escalates throughout as the film goes forward. These two men are basically dehumanized to one another and it doesn't help matters that they both come from entirely different worlds. They are opposites in life, so they are fundamentally opposed to one another when the first sign of conflict surfaces. It turns out that Changing Lanes evolves into a unique commentary on the darkest sides of human nature. It is unique because we visit these dark decisions by way of likeable and real character portrayals. To avoid spoilers, I won't reveal anymore than I have already.
Samuel L. Jackson is obviously an outstanding actor and he is great here but the most surprising thing is Ben Affleck matches him and then some. It's a shame Ben's reputation as an actor was so horrible at the time Changing Lanes came out because his performance definitely deserved some praise. Sydney Pollack is also outstanding as an exceptionally believable and accessible villain. A lot of the credit goes to the screenplay here for exposing pragmatic reactions to specific circumstances instead of superficial morality. There are no purely ethical and moral figures in Changing Lanes, but then again I can't think of too many in real life either. If they did exist in Changing Lanes then its commentary would be disrupted completely, but I still held out hoping reason would creek into the picture. Chaos reigns here and humanity is called upon to prevail. It puts suspense on a much larger societal scale for me. I know that the ending bothered those hoping for something more retributive but try to see Changing Lanes as a story about healing, not revenge."
A superb thriller and character study.
Eric | 09/11/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Changing Lanes happens to feature two movie stars in the lead roles and is funded by Paramount Pictures, one of the top film production studios. So is it with anything less than pure surprise that this doesn't turn out to be an action or buddy picture? Not only does this film happen to be a character-driven thriller, it's also an intriguing look at societal pressures on the human individual, delivering in a manner that is intense, edgy, and perhaps even quite frightening.Ben Affleck stars as Gavin Banek and Samuel L. Jackson is Doyle Gipson. Banek is a high-priced lawyer who is ready to finalize a big deal with will turn over a recently deceased millionaire's entire fortune to his firm. Gipson is a recovering alcoholic who's doing everything he can (mainly by purchasing a house in Queens for them to settle in) to save his marriage and keep his wife from taking the children and moving to another state. Both Banek and Gipson are on their way to court when their cars crash into each other. Gipson wants to get everything done legally, "the right way," but Banek is in too much of a hurry, so he simply leaves a blank check and takes off to court, leaving the other man stranded. However, Banek leaves the most important file at the scene of the accident (which Gipson is now in possession of), and Gipson misses his own court hearing, losing any chance for custody of his kids to his wife. Banek's determination to get the file back and Gipson's anger and frustration turns this cross of paths into a game of cat-and-mouse and revenge which makes for probably the most lopsided day of their lives.Changing Lanes is a film that surprised me almost every minute of the way. There's a lot of plot and theme at work here, but I want to emphasize that this is hardly pretentious filmmaking; it's an honest look at just how far pressure can push normal men, as well as how such pressure can bring out the best qualities in these same people. After a rather clumsy introduction and a chaotically directed crash scene that felt rather rushed, the film settled in comfortably into its main story. On the surface, the movie plays perfectly well as a thriller, certainly enough to satisfy thriller buffs looking for hard-edged suspense. But further yet, the film becomes a character study of two men who lead opposite lives, but perhaps aren't as dissimilar as each may think. Rich and affluent, Affleck's Banek is a man on the top, but despite his seemingly arrogant and impatient behavior, he displays a moral and conflicted center, torn by what's right and what everyone else-namely his boss, co-workers, wife-says is right. Undoubtedly the most complex character Affleck has ever played, this is also the young actor's best performance to date.Samuel L. Jackson is easily one of the best actors around, and his portrayal here is absolutely terrific, perhaps his most substantial performance since his role in Pulp Fiction. Gipson is certainly less priveleged than Banek, and this societal gap displays an interesting effect once things get out of hand. Gipson represents the majority of us, the working middle class that's frustrated when fate hands him a wrong turn. The disastrous day that Gipson endures is affecting, and it's both simultaneously crushing and exhilarating to see a reasonable man go to the extremes. There are far more themes at work here, and I've only touched on the surface. For instance, there's a powerful scene where Amanda Peet (as Banek's wife) delivers a coldly manipulative speech that clues us in as to why Banek would cheat on his beautiful wife with a less physically attractive, but far kinder, more emotionally supportive woman (played well by Toni Collete). Another similarly powerhouse sequence is Sydney Pollack's (playing Banek's boss) diatribe on ethics in business and why the cutthroat method is the only effective tool for pressing business matters. With an abundance of moments like these, there's so much theme at work in the script that the film simply demands repeat viewings.Changing Lanes is always entertaining, thanks to Roger Mitchell's well-paced and sure-handed direction, and the script never falters when it comes to both story and thematic material, mixing both together without ever coming off as preachy. The film has lots to offer, and for viewers willing to take the ride, the rewards are plentiful. It's been a fine year for movies so far, and without a doubt, Changing Lanes is one of the best cinematic offerings to date."
The hard choices that have to be made every day
Linda Linguvic | New York City | 09/28/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Starring Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson, this is the story of how a seemingly small fender-bender incident changed the lives of two men forever. Affleck is cast as Gavin Banek, a young Wall Street lawyer married to the boss's daughter, who is on his way to court to file some papers that were obtained unethically. He doesn't have the document with him, however, and realizes he lost it during his encounter with Jackson on the expressway. Jackson, cast as Doyle Gibson, is a recovering alcoholic, who is also on his way to court. He's in the process of obtaining a mortgage on a modest house and is trying to keep his wife from moving across the country with his two young sons. When he is 20 minutes late for the custody hearing, he loses his case. Both men are now hurtled into a series of confrontations with the kind ofescalating intensity that kept my eyes glued to the screen as the tension increased.The screenplay, by Chap Taylor and Michael Tolkin, was excellent, and kept the audience not only wondering what would happen next, but also gradually understanding the character of each man, and how this affected their next moves. The plot twisted and turned as the men became more and more real, with the human frailties that hurtled the action along, showing how the way that each had been living his life contributed to what would happen next. Some deeply moral and ethical questions were raised with no easy answers. And in, at the end, as each man had to deal with his own personal demons, the conclusion was resolved on a positive note, leaving everyone wiser.Roger Michell, the director, was able to get outstanding performances out of all of the supporting cast members, as well as the stars - most notably Toni Collette as a colleague and sometime mistress of Affleck, Amanda Peet as his wife, Sidney Pollack as the head of the law firm, and Kim Staunton as Jackson's wife. The New York setting was also wonderful and I'm glad that a decision was made not to edit out the World Trade Towers. It was a real and important part of New York, and I personally enjoyed seeing them there, a visual reminder of how quickly things can change, which fit in perfectly with the story.I highly recommend this film, not just for the action, but also for the uncompromising view of how a person's character determines the outcome of situations and the hard choices that have to be made every day. See it!"
Much more to it than there first appears to be
Christopher Moyer | Philadelphia, PA | 03/07/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Changing Lanes pulls a fast one on you. No, I'm not talking about a shocking plot twist. What I mean is that it lets you think that it's a tale of the vengeance that two men inflict on one another after a traffic accident causes more trouble than they could have imagined, but really it's much more than that. It's about self-preservation, and how much a man is willing to do to protect himself, even if it means hurting someone else.
The two men are Gavin Baneck (Ben Affleck) and Doyle Gipson (Samuel L. Jackson). Gavin, a Wall Street lawyer, is on his way to a court hearing to prove that he acted on behalf of a client and not out of self-interest, which would put him in jail - and he's got the paperwork to prove it. Doyle is also on his way to a hearing to prove that he should retain joint custody of his two young children, because he's a recovering alcoholic and is about to buy a home for all of them to live in.
When they get into the accident, Gavin leaves Doyle stranded, saying, "Better luck next time," but he also leaves behind a file that is crucial to his hearing. By the time Doyle makes it to his appointment, it's already over and sole custody has been rewarded to his ex-wife. Gavin, not wanting to be the one who screws over himself and his partners, does everything in his power to get back that file from Doyle, which includes bankrupting him. He doesn't want to hurt him, but if he doesn't get that file to the courthouse by the end of the day, he's probably going to jail for a long time. However, Doyle, acting irrationally because he's scared of losing his kids, is unwilling to cooperate, and things quickly escalate, leaving both men wounded and questioning themselves.
What makes this film work so well is that while the premise may not be probable, it is entirely plausible. We get the feeling that these are real people, at first struggling to save their own hides, but then later struggling to figure out what went so wrong in the first place, and how to go back and fix it.
I found myself wondering what I would do if put in the same situation, and I really hope that I would be a saint about it, but the truth is that I really don't know. In movies, everybody likes to see good guys defeating bad guys, but the real world doesn't work like that; it's just a bunch of flawed humans trying to figure out the point of it all and trying to become the good guy. Changing Lanes knows this, and that's why it gets my approval."