Saturday, September 4, 2010

Movies – Changing Lanes

There are movies, such as the ones listed in my profile, that I will watch over and over again for as long as I live. And there are movies that, regardless of whether they’re good or bad, once I’ve seen them, I’m good for life. And then there are those movies that fall into neither camp but were so compelling the first time around that, when the opportunity arises, I would watch them again. Changing Lanes is one such movie.

The 2002 drama aired last Thursday on My9 Network in the New York City area, and once again I found myself deeply engrossed in the drama of two motorists (Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson) who, after getting into an accident on a New York City highway, proceed to turn each other’s life upside down and in the process become unraveled by their own doing. What starts out as a road rage thriller turns into a soul-baring personal journey of self-discovery and the quest for ethical equilibrium in a world in which the end justifies the means.

Dylan Baker exudes reptilian slime as a cyber “fixer” who helps Affleck unleash virtual demons on Jackson. And the outstanding William Hurt provides great support as Jackson’s Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor, who tries to rescue Jackson from demons in a bottle.

I am not a fan of Affleck, and Jackson is more fun and larger than life in his big franchise roles such as the Star Wars prequels and the Marvel superhero movies and kitsch such as Shaft, Snakes on a Plane, and The Other Guys. However, Changing Lanes stands among the finest work of both of their careers and is a cinematic gem worth seeking out.

--Raj Manoharan

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