Friday, April 19, 2002

Changing Lanes (IMDB) (Netflix)
We're late, we're late, late for very important court dates. Insurance telemarketer Samuel L. Jackson and law partner Ben Affleck desperately need to see the judge, for different reasons, but they collide in traffic, setting off a messy arc of callousness, retribution, remorse and attempted redemption. Although the actors are all strong (for a switch, the wives are the scariest characters in their small roles), the dance toward and away from a peaceful resolution makes this much more interesting than a linear drive-to-the-climax flick, and the subplot that challenges lawyer Affleck's ethical compass gives the film more depth than you might expect of the number one movie in the U.S.

I would have cut the last 60 seconds of the movie, which tacks on a Hollywood feel-good note that too-neatly wraps up one of the storylines and dilutes the film's impact, but with that exception, this is a very well-made commercial effort that's more than its trailer would imply. (If anyone can tell me who makes Sidney Pollack's cool eyeglasses [he's Affleck's father-in-law and boss in the picture], let me know).