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Changing Lanes (2002)

One wrong turn deserves another.

Rating: 8/10

Running Time: 95 minutes

UK Certificate: 15


Ben Affleck appears as Gavin Banek, a harried young attorney rushing to a court appointment where he is to file important legal papers relating to a multi-million-dollar trust. In his haste, he collides with the car of alcoholic insurance salesman Doyle Gipson (Samuel L Jackson) with whom he hurriedly leaves his details before dashing away leaving Doyle stranded in the road. Gavin arrives in court to present his papers, only to realise he no longer has them – he wrote his details on the file and gave it to Doyle at the scene of the accident. Without the papers, the trust is in question and Gavin himself could be in legal difficulties.

The judge gives Gavin only until the end of the day to present the papers before he gets into trouble. However, there is a problem – Gavin never took Doyle’s details and has no idea who he is. As it happens, Doyle is furious with Gavin. He was also on his way to court, to plead his case at a custody hearing, and the accident rendered him so late that he never got the chance to plead for joint custody of his children. An angry Doyle sends Gavin a page of his file, and Gavin finds a way to retaliate. Soon the two are locked in an escalating tit-for-tat battle that will ultimately make them look closely at who they are and what they are doing.

This is a fine gripping thriller that takes a small road-rage incident and shows how it can escalate step by step until both protagonists are doing things that they never imagined they were capable of. The film is stylish and atmospheric, yet simple and convincing. The plot produces escalating tension and plenty of twists and turns, although the ‘Hollywood ending’ wraps things up far too neatly. Both leads do a fine job of giving their characters depth –Affleck as the attorney who spirals out of control in panic, and Jackson as the alcoholic whose desperation expresses itself in deepening anger. In all, this is a taut thriller that will please most audiences.

It's Got: Fine performances from Jackson and Affleck.

It Needs: The ending to be a little less neat.

DVD Extras A fair collection of extras with this single-disc release, including an interesting Writers Perspective featurette. Extras: Directors commentary, Making of, Writers perspective, Deleted and extended scenes, Theatrical trailer. DVD Extras Rating: 7/10


A gripping thriller full of twists and turns that holds an audience's attention right up until the end.