CHANGING LANES | TEN YEARS AGO THIS MONTH...
by Alan Young
Well 10 years ago this month, April 2002, saw the release of 'Changing Lanes'. The story of two men's lives that literally and figuratively collide. They are both in a rush to get to their respective appointments. In each case the engagement is absolutely vital to their lives. The men are at opposite ends of the spectrum in lifestyle and their mental approach towards such. Doyle Gipson (Samuel L. Jackson) is a family man desperately trying to stabilise things and overcome his personal demons. Struggling to make ends meet and support his children the way he would like to. He is on the way to a custody hearing for his kids as he doesn't want them to be taken away. On the other hand Gavin Banek (Ben Affleck) is a big earning and ambitious lawyer. Having a high paying job, a powerful wife and an incredibly faithful mistress he couldn't have things much easier in comparison.
Cleverly written by Chap Taylor, the story weaves in and out. Each characters position and mentality seems to change back and forth almost as if their bi-polar, yet in a believable way. Quite unpredictable to begin with though as you get used to the plot you can see when these swings are going to happen. Some nice symbolism used subtly through the film also just adds a little bit of depth to the saga. My biggest criticism of the film is that it's meant to be quick moving all of this happening within a day or two, but at times it doesn't seem to have that urgency about it.
From an acting point of view I can't fault either Jackson or Affleck. They both put in a decent performance and in Affleck's case I'd say greatly above his norm. They did appear to have an on screen chemistry and a decent script to work with. The portrayals do enough to get you invested but it has to be said there is nothing outstanding here.
To sum things up this film has provided me with some irritation. At the time of writing it has an IMDB rating of 6.5 out of 10. Now I'm not one overly influenced by rating systems and I am not saying this is an inaccurate rating of this film, actually it's a bit high in all honesty. However to think of all the films released this year which have been inferior to this yet have a higher rating on IMDB frustrates me. The film is not a classic, nothing spectacular although I would far rather watch this than about 80% of the tripe that has been released this year.