6.5/10
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351 user 165 critic

Changing Lanes (2002)

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The story of what happens one day in New York when a young lawyer and a businessman share a small automobile accident on F.D.R. Drive and their mutual road rage escalates into a feud.

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7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Kim Staunton ...
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Walter Arnell
Akil Walker ...
Cole Hawkins ...
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Mina Dunne (as Jennifer Dundas Lowe)
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Myra Lucretia Taylor ...
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Storyline

An attorney in a rush to make a court appointment to file legal papers involving a multi-million dollar trust accidentally collides with an alcoholic insurance salesman, who also is a rush for a court appointment involving the custody of his children. The attorney leaves the scene of the accident and strands the salesman, causing him to miss his custody hearing. During the process of the post-crash discussion, the attorney accidentally drops the papers he needs to present in court. The judge gives him until the end of the day to present the papers and thus begins a cat and mouse game between the proponents. A few questionable actions later on both parties' part, they finally start questioning their actions and their lives. In the end, both come to new understanding of what is important and appear to be set in new ethical and moral directions. Contains mild violence and profanity. Written by John Sacksteder <jsackste@bellsouth.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

One Wrong Turn Deserves Another See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

12 April 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Fuera de control  »

Box Office

Budget:

$45,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$17,128,062 (USA) (12 April 2002)

Gross:

$66,790,248 (USA) (2 August 2002)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Toni Collette and Samuel L. Jackson both appeared in M. Night Shyamalan films, The Sixth Sense (1999) and Unbreakable (2000) respectively. See more »

Goofs

On Good Friday in New York City all public schools are closed. None of the plot dealing with the two school children is possible on this date. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Doyle Gipson: Think I'll make this the boys' room.
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Crazy Credits

Thanks to the staff and Militia Force members and veterans at the Marcy Avenue Armory, Brooklyn, New York. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Making of 'Changing Lanes' (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Ode to Joy
(1826)
by Ludwig van Beethoven (as L. Beethoven)
Arranged by Sidney Carlin
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User Reviews

The trailer lied, as trailers often do these days...
28 September 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Spoilers.

Changing Lanes is much more complex than the trailer leads you to believe. From the preview, you'd think it is an action fan's over-revved, simple-minded revenge thriller with lots of vehicular mayhem. Believe it or not, it does more peeling back of the layers of insulation of the affluent/powerful end of the social spectrum than any film I have seen lately. (--And not in the way the disappointingly too-pat-to-downright-absurd 'John Q' did, either.)

It's a film noir, and one of the darkest at that, full of despair, cynicism and scathing revelations about human nature. It seems to say-- or really, and this is a major distinction, to be about characters some of whom believe-- that we all make deals of personal expedience with Morality, that no one escapes life formation uncompromised and therefore able to comment on or judge anyone else's choices or actions. It's the old amoral, nihilistic/relativistic universe routine, which says concepts of fairness, justice or morality are quaintly irrelevant, that stuff just keeps happening, always has and always will, que sera sera.

My favorite scene, which was revolting and ugly and creepy as anything in any horror film you can name, is when Affleck sits down in a fine restaurant to discuss with his wife the morality of the situation he has been sucked into and is getting in deeper by the hour. He recognizes rightly that his game of oneupmanship, and win-at-any-cost has gotten insanely out of control. He is beginning to question it all, everything in his life. He comes to his wife for solace, direction, insight, a hint of moral rectitude, any help she can offer. She helps him, alright-- by saying she knows he does dishonest things (like having an affair with a woman at the office, which up until she springs that, he thought was his little secret) and that she could have had an honest husband, if that was all she wanted. --Why would she make a scene over an infidelity and risk interrupting the flow of her resources, anyway, she asks. He splits the dinner, dazed and even more desperate. In the next scene we witness him doing more of those very things he has just been having moral anguish over. (Maybe he can't recognize the feel of moral anguish at first.)

The Affleck character has a tremendous amount at stake, courtesy a pretty nifty plot hook, that keeps him up to some very dirty tricks. Sure, he doesn't want to risk interrupting the flow of his resources, either. But I think it's clear that the real reason he keeps doing crummy things is because he is a man compulsively drawn to the rewards of a destructive mode of behavior. Others gamble or drink or eat too much. Affleck works the system, lying, cheating, and treating all people like garbage. That's his high, his inescapable need. He can't quit. (Late in the film, he agrees to hire an idealistic young intern because, he laughs uncontrollably to himself, he wants to see what the intern's optimism and altruism looks like after 5 years of hard weathering by his no-rules-in-life employer.) Affleck is sick, and while he finally recognizes that sickness, he resigns himself to keep doing the same thing because, as his boss tells himself, he is willing to believe he has done more good than harm at the end of the day. The Affleck character's motivations for being extra bad, in the episode of his life we glimpse here, are strong enough to keep Changing Lanes from being just another American psycho study; it's easy to believe we could turn Affleck, given a similar circumstance in our life.

The ending is a somewhat forced positive one, but not nearly as much a sell out as is usually the case with a made-by-committee major commercial film. I give the whole enterprise 8.5 out of 10 stars.


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