Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr Viber
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
Download Ex Machina
Before the DVD release on 8th June
The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Take a survey for the chance to win an iPad
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Ben Affleck
Samuel L Jackson
Kim Staunton
Toni Collette
Sydney Pollack.
Directors
Roger Michell.
Screenwriters
Chap Taylor
Michael Tolkin.
Running Time
99 minutes

LATEST DVD REVIEWS
A Most Violent Year
4 Star Empire Rating
Big Eyes
3 Star Empire Rating
John Pilger: The War On Democracy
4 Star Empire Rating
Tremors - 25th Anniversary Edition
4 Star Empire Rating
Darling
3 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Long Good Friday, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Birdman
5 Star Empire Rating
Duke of burgundy, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Rashomon
5 Star Empire Rating
Paddington
5 Star Empire Rating

Changing Lanes
Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson suffer road rage and take road revenge


submit to reddit


Plot
Rushing to make a vital court appointment, lawyer Gavin Banek has a minor collision with Doyle Gipson, a man equally rushed to appear at a hearing to establish child custody. After a vital file accidentally swaps hands, the two engage in an escalating spiral of revenge.


Review
Buried deep in the lower strata of Hollywood's sub-sub-genres is the 'really shitty day' movie. Previous examples include Joel Schumacher's Falling Down, Walter Hill's The Warriors and Martin Scorsese's underrated After Hours. The rules are simple: take one or more characters whose plans for the next 24 hours seem pretty simple, add one random and apparently insignificant element into the mix - a lost bank note, a traffic jam - and watch their lives unravel like so many loose-knit sweaters in a briar patch.

Changing Lanes is a superior example of the species. Here the hubristic characters are a father (Jackson) who is pursuing the last hope of his otherwise kaput marriage, and an ambitious young lawyer (Affleck), desperate to impress his intimidating boss (Sydney Pollack). The catalyst for their downfall is a minor fender-bender on a rainy New York morning.

Screenwriters Taylor and Tolkin (respectively, Woody Allen's production assistant and screenwriter of The Player) have wrought an intricate screenplay full of misdirection and surprising hairpin twists. Michell's direction is precise and understated, a world away from the cloying sentiment he drizzled over Notting Hill. But what's really impressive about the film is that the two central characters being put through the emotional wringer are neither all-hero nor all-villain, as might be expected from a studio movie with two big-name stars. Instead, Banek and Gipson are stressed, flawed human beings trying to survive the urban pressures of New York at different ends of the social spectrum.

Jackson gives an intense, discomforting edge to a character which otherwise could easily have been a cardboard cut-out 'recovering alcoholic with issues'. At one point he brutally beats a couple of two-bit racists, seeming not to know or care when to stop, and giving the audience cause to wonder whether his wife's decision to abandon him might have been the right one: he's a cloud of nebulous rage.

Equally, Affleck's character is not a stereotyped grasping yuppie. His depiction of a youthful WASP-ish attorney draws on the slight sleaziness he showed in Boiler Room and Mall Rats, but it's tempered by an increasingly horrified awareness of his dizzying spiral into corruption and vengeance. It may be the best performance of his career so far and he, together with Amanda Peet as his wife, deliver one of the movie's high-points - a restaurant scene in which he discovers his marriage is not built on the foundations he thought. It's as icy a representation of cynical corruption as anything by Neil LaBute, and one of the best scenes in any movie this year.

But, like its protagonists, Changing Lanes has a flaw - a precision-tooled Hollywood ending which has all the sophistication of a Sesame Street homily. Look, it says, if we could only just all sit down and talk, maybe we could learn to co-operate... It's a pity, since the film has otherwise watched - with an ironic, appalled fascination - what otherwise sane individuals are capable of doing to each other in extremis, and this too-neat ending has the necrotic whiff of focus group response cards and studio cowardice. Apart from that probably inevitable disappointment, this is a gripping, intelligent film.


Extras

Changing Lanes Changing Lanes
Released: 02 June 2003
Director Roger Michell’s commentary is a joy. The man has an almost savant-like capacity for decent trivia, recounting on-set goings-on and discussing the film’s underlying themes in his own gentle, self-deprecating way — his anxiety at having one of his heroes, Sydney Pollack, among his cast is particularly endearing.

Despite voice-over man’s best efforts to ruin it, the ‘making of’ is solidly produced, with good cast interviews, while among the deleted scenes is an extended version of Affleck’s confessional rant which, if retained, may have caused religious uproar. Almost makes you wish they had.


Verdict
One of the most impressive movies of the year; taut and compelling.


Reviewed by Olly Richards

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for Changing Lanes
Empire Star Rating

Crap ending

A solidly entertaining three star movie until the mushy convoluted conclusion that betrays the films initial dark spirit.if it had ended well, that is the kind of make or break aspect that films can benefit or fall on..sam jackson is excellent as always, though ben affleck(as always) left me cold. a more mature actor could have (and should have) fitted into the nasty lawyer role so much better.perhaps even a better actor from his generation, like ed norton. overall, a missed opportunity. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by cadz at 14:31, 29 October 2006 | Report This Post



CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Who Are The New Mutants?
Fox’s X-Men spin-off features a bunch of fresh faces. Here’s what you need to know...

Stoical Supermen: 10 Quiet Heroes That Get Stuff Done
Silent but deadly...

Ana Lily Amirpour On A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night
'There's nothing sexier than a vampire...'

Rick Baker: Creature By Creature
The make-up effects titan on his greatest creations

12 Of The Weirdest Things Jean-Claude Van Damme Has Done On Camera
Outside of his movies, that is...

Spooks: An Oral History
Cast and crew on the spy smash

Barbarians And Battletrucks: The Weird World Of Mad Max Knock-Offs
20 diversions along the Fury Road

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Empire print magazine

Delivered to your door – with exclusive subscriber only covers each month!

Subscribe and save 48%

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Empire digital magazine

Exclusive and enhanced content – get instant access via your iPad or Android device

Subscribe and save 48%

Subscribe now and save up to 69%
Print, Digital & Package options available Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire Digital Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  Digital Edition  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)