Changing Lanes – Blu-ray Review
By Jeff Swindoll May 27, 2009, 13:43 GMT
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. ...more
Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson are out to get even with each other in this tepid thriller. The problem is that we could care less about either character or their problems.
Attorney Gavin Banek (Ben Affleck) is on his way to the courthouse to file some important paperwork. On the way there, he gets into an auto accident with recovering alcoholic Doyle Gipson (Samuel L. Jackson). Gipson is also on his way to court to attend a hearing that will decide the custody of his children.
Banek wants to give him a check so he can continue on his way, but Gipson wants to “do the right thing” and call police, get insurance information, and the usual procedures you follow when you get into a car accident. Banek doesn’t want to have anything to do with the “right thing” so he takes off and strands Gipson on the side of the road.
What he doesn’t realize is that he dropped the important file that he was rushing to the courthouse to file at the scene of the accident and Gipson finds it. Gipson is late for the court proceedings and loses custody of his children.
Banek is now in trouble with his law firm partners (Richard Jenkins and Sydney Pollack) and has to get the file into the hands of the judge by the end of the day. However, Gipson has not forgotten Banek’s slight and the two engage in a war of one-up-man-ship that threatens to destroy both of them.
I’m not too much of a Ben Affleck fan, but he did earn some stripes for his turn in Hollywoodland. Sam Jackson is an actor who turns in some solid performances, but can on occasion move toward histrionics. Changing Lanes just seems like an interesting idea done poorly.
The plot never really catches fire and neither character is one that you’ll care too much about. Maybe less about Affleck’s than you do about Jackson’s. The momentum that might’ve been built up as the plot unfurls hits too many speed bumps and just stalls.
These plot contrivances tend to bury the overarching message of be careful how you treat people in your everyday life. There are some nice supporting turns, especially by Pollack and Jenkins, but they get buried by the rest of the film. It’s another forgettable performance by Affleck.
Changing Lanes is presented in a 1080p high definition transfer (2.35:1). Special features include a commentary by director Roger Michell. The special features come over from the DVD release and are in standard definition, save for the 2 minute theatrical trailer that is in high def. You get a 15 minute making of featurette, 6 minute featurette on the writing, and 10 minutes of deleted/extended scenes.
There’s some “there, there” in the film, but it’s just not executed well. If you’re an Affleck or Jackson fan you might want to add this to your collection, but others might just want to stick with a rental if you’re interested. Just be careful who you cut off in traffic on the way to the rental store.