Aneesh Chaganty

Movie #266 Changing Lanes

In Uncategorized on August 13, 2011 at 8:04 AM

Movie #266 Changing Lanes

(2002, US, d. Roger Michell)

Changing Lanes is a surprisingly compelling thriller considering the fact it was made in the early 2000’s and starred at that time one of the worst major actors in Hollywood. It is a film about tensions boiling up to that point of no return. Kind of like the Michael Douglas character in the Joel Schumacher film Falling Down, here we have Doyle Gipson (another wonderful performance by Samuel L. Jackson), a man in a rush to make a court hearing that will decide whether or not he has custody over his kids. On the other end of the spectrum we have the not-very-likeable, but very successful New York Lawyer Gavin Banek (played by Ben Afleck). Both are late to their respective hearings, for completely different reasons. Gipson is a good man. Banek is not. They get into a minor accident on the freeway, leaving Gipson’s car wrecked on the road. Both are going to the same place, but Banek doesn’t ask where Gipson is going. He just leaves. “Better luck next time”, he shouts from his window on the rainy weekday morning, leaving Gipson stranded. Little does Banek know that he leaves a very important folder with Gipson, and without knowing his name or where he was going, he has no way to find him. Gipson loses custody over his kids before he even makes it to the court room. From there, all hell breaks loose. With nothing to lose, Gipson becomes hell bent on ruining everything Banek has fought for over the years. Changing Lanes is unlike a major Hollywood film in that the end goal is not something tangible, but simply a way of thinking. It is a film in which the characters are forced to reexamine the way they see the world. It’s not about getting home or saving someone else. It is about the psychology and wiring within ourselves that allows us to look another human being in the eye and condemn him for doing no wrong. It is a film that constantly asks the audience, “What if…”. What if Banek told him where he was going? What if Gipson had reacted differently? What if Banek’s intentions were better than they were? What if something like this happened to you? These are the action films that deserved to be watched.

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