Changing Lanes


Changing Lanes (Double Sided)
Ben Affleck as Gavin Banek
Samuel L. Jackson as Doyle Gipson
Kim Staunton as Valerie Gipson
Toni Collette as Michelle
Sydney Pollack as Stephen Delano
Tina Sloan as Mrs. Delano
Richard Jenkins as Walter Arnell
Akil Walker as Stephen Gipson
Cole Hawkins as Danny Gipson
Ileen Getz as Ellen
Jennifer Dundas as Mina Dunne
Matt Malloy as Ron Cabot
Amanda Peet as Cynthia Banek
Myra Lucretia Taylor as Judge Abarbanel
Bruce Altman as Joe Kaufman

Changing Lanes is a well acted film, but ultimately disappointing.

Doyle Gibson is a recovering alcoholic who is trying to get his life in order. He’s also trying to reconcile with his wife and get joint custody of his kids. On his way to a court appearance, he gets in a traffic accident with lawyer Gavin Banek. In a hurry to get to an important court appearance as well, Banek ditches Gibson on the side of the road with nothing but his address written on a folder.

Arriving late to his court appearance, Gibson loses custody of his children. He blames it on Banek who left him on the side of the road. When Banek gets to his hearing, he realizes that he left his address with Gibson on the folder containing documents important for the trial. After a desperate search, he finally finds Gibson. Bitter about losing his kids, he refuses to hand the folder over. Both men have hot tempers and a lot to lose, so they begin attacking each other in ways that eventually make them cross moral lines they didn’t realize they went over.

Changing Lanes is rated R for language.

What Worked:
I enjoy the work of both Samuel L. Jackson and Ben Affleck, and they both delivered good performances in this film. It’s easy to see how Affleck’s character is seduced by fortune and power. It’s easy to see how he crossed his moral lines over time without even realizing it. He didn’t do it all at once. It was a lot of small steps that he simply justified one at a time. He’s never really a good guy, but you understand him. Samuel L. Jackson also makes his character sympathetic. Despite making obviously bad choices, you really feel his pain when it is apparent that he’s going to lose the one thing that gives his life meaning – his children.

Amanda Peet also has a very brief cameo, but her scene is really chilling. It’s impressive how she manipulates Affleck’s character in the film.

This movie could really have ended several ways. It could end happily or in a major disaster with someone being killed. You really don’t know which way it’s going to go until the last few minutes.

What Didn’t Work:
Changing Lanes is a decent movie with some great talent behind it, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea. I found it a bit depressing. The main characters just keep torturing each other and making one horrible decision after another. They keep coming to a crossroads where they can set things right, but they choose the worse path. Gloom, doom, and the self-destructiveness of mankind are the themes of the day. That doesn’t make the movie bad, but it doesn’t leave you walking out of the theater in a happy mood, either.

It doesn’t help that neither of the main characters are terribly likable. They’re both hot headed screw-ups. They both really get what they deserve. Even though you sympathize with them, it’s hard to cheer for them.

Changing Lanes is yet another movie with a statement to make about society. If you’re in a mood to be preached to about how bad the world can be, then check this one out.