Reviewer's Rating 4 out of 5  
Changing Lanes (2002)
15

From the director of "Notting Hill", and the stars of "Shaft" and "Armageddon", comes a gritty, grown-up morality tale. Hang on...

"Changing Lanes" is a surprise. Sure, Ben Affleck is playing a cocky prat and Samuel L Jackson gets his contractually-obliged 'cool' fight sequence (battering some poor bloke with a phone), but Roger Michell's movie is more than a join-the-dots feud thriller.

Doyle Gipson (Jackson) is a reformed alcoholic battling for co-custody of his children. Gavin Banek (Affleck) is a hotshot Wall Street lawyer wrestling for control of a late client's charitable trust.

In an expertly edited sequence, we follow both men on this crucial day as they race to court, only to collide on the freeway.

After a rushed discussion, Banek flees the scene, leaving a document vital to his case. Gipson then struggles into court late and loses his kids.

Both men are frustrated and angry, and when fate reunites them, a tit-for-tat battle ensues.

"Changing Lanes" is about the little everyday decisions that form our moral make up. It's about conscience and how we'll try to justify anything for our own happiness.

Banek isn't merely fighting Gipson, he's wrestling with himself, particularly when he uncovers the unsavoury dealings of his father-in-law and law firm boss (Pollack).

Gipson's problem isn't really the cocky attorney, rather his own demons and addiction - as one character puts it - "to chaos".

In its attempt at an amicable resolution, the movie falters, but the leads are superb throughout, and the script's probing of life's grey areas raises troubling questions.

Not least of which is put by Pollack's ruthless - some would say pragmatic - fink: "I can live with myself because at the end of the day I think I do more good than harm. What other standard have I got to judge by?"

In a society where self is first, what indeed?

End Credits

Director: Roger Michell

Writer: Chap Taylor, Michael Tolkin

Stars: Samuel L Jackson, Ben Affleck, Sydney Pollack, Toni Collette, Tina Sloan, Toni Collette, Akil Walker

Genre: Drama, Thriller

Length: 99 minutes

Cinema: 01 November 2002

Country: USA

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