Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 58 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: A rush hour fender-bender on New York City's crowded FDR Drive turns two complete strangers into vicious adversaries. (Paramount Pictures)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 36
  2. Negative: 1 out of 36
  1. 100
    This is one of the best movies of the year.
  2. 80
    The plot, with its matched, escalating acts of revenge, may be a contrivance, but within that contrivance Changing Lanes plays earnest and well. [6 May 2002, p. 138]
  3. Frustrating yet deeply watchable melodrama that makes you think it's a tougher picture than it is.
  4. Teasing drama whose relentless good-deed/bad-deed reversals are just interesting enough to make a sinner like me pray for an even more interesting, less symmetrical, less obviously cross-shaped creation.
  5. 67
    Deeply strange, oddly shimmery movie.
  6. It's watchable from start to finish, despite lapses in common sense, and it boasts a terrific cast of over-40 actors.
  7. Gets too caught up in its escalating violence and strained-to-bursting moral subtexts. It's the blood of souls drenching the screen, and it's a hideous sight to behold.

See all 36 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 31
  2. Negative: 1 out of 31
  1. CorentinH.
    Nov 26, 2006
    Very good movie. I love the music and ambiance ...
  2. FrankO.
    Jan 31, 2006
    Cast and director did good job of escalating the consequences of the characters actions, nice plot twists; Jackson was better than Affleck; Pollack was good as lawyer; ending was contrite. Expand
  3. Aug 19, 2010
    If you think you've had a hard day, try this...

    Jackson plays Doyle Gipson, an insurance salesman who is trying to earn his family back.
    Between attending AA meetings, he is seeking regular access to his two children. Affleck plays Gavin Banek, whose law firm demands he do morally questionable deeds so they can keep earning from their clients. We see their flaws but if there is a difference early on, it is that Gipson wants to do right by everyone while Banek is blinkered into looking after himself. Beginning sharply with a car accident, Banek makes a choice which robs Gipson of something that can't be replaced. Gipson in turn has something Banek desperately needs. As one man's manipulative tactics are used in increasingly desperate measures, the other's wanting to do the right thing quickly evaporates as he is pushed to the brink and beyond. All the action is played out over the course of a day and what a day it is. I've seldom seen so much packed into one 24-hour period that feels as real as this. Things of course move along rapidly. Just when you think a scene may become bogged down in too much talk, one guy makes his move, sparking off the next in the series of clashes. By the end however, both come to ground with a view of themselves they didn't have when they set out that morning. Damage has been done but maybe some can be repaired as two men learn from each other how to be better and move forward. The ending is a very satisfying one. The writing is excellent and moves between moral drama and gritty thriller. It's not all about two men locking horns as their story is interwoven with background to their lives. Whether Banek in discussion with his wife or Gipson having a dilemma in a bar, these scenes add depth but never take away from the intensity. The success of this film is also largely about the two lead performances. Affleck raises his game while Jackson is as charged as ever. He doesn't radiate hugeness as in other roles, but is just as effective in this often broken character. Both ensure their duel is a fascinating one from start to finish. Expand
  4. JW
    May 28, 2006
    Pretty darn good, given the wild leaps it sometimes makes. Both leads play against type; Jackson by looking frumpy and helpless, Affleck by doing a decent acting job in a worthwhile film. What's with Pollack and boats these days? Expand
  5. Sep 28, 2012
    Changing Lanes is a decent movie dealing with ethics and human nature. It does, however, have the odd nonsensical plot-hole to infuriate you with. That annoyance aside, Changing Lanes is solid stuff. Expand
  6. TonyB.
    Oct 9, 2005
    It has a point to make and succeeds in making it. A number of contrivances, the worst being having a NYC public school open on Good Friday, could have been avoided. Expand
  7. Apr 3, 2014
    This one was nothing more than ok. Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson are both good in their roles and really help to elevate this film. The story is ok, but my main complaint has to do with the fact that the character development was extremely uneven and muddled. For example, both characters have moments where they are good guys and try to be honest, but then the next scene they are absolutely despicable human beings at the drop off a hat in order to get revenge. If this is some comment on society, then this one takes itself a little too seriously. If this is simply what they came up with, then the writers need to be a bit more creative. The constant horrendous acts by both sides made it hard to root for either side, in spite of my trying to identify with them, only for them to totally ruin that over-and-over. On top of that, their acts of revenge were a little far fetched and over the top. I guess the point is that nothing is off-limits for these guys, but I just had a hard time believing that any of this could happen as the film tried to claim.

    Overall, Changing Lanes is pretty much a run-of-the-mill thriller with solid acting and definite intensity than teases you constantly. Throughout, I wanted to love it and really invest myself in it, but I never could, because right as the film would start to open itself up to me, it would turn its back and get cold once more.

See all 31 User Reviews