Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 36
  2. Negative: 1 out of 36
  1. 78
    Rarely have I seen a film so willing to champion the fallibility of the human heart.
  2. 63
    For all its pretensions, Changing Lanes, ultimately, is about nothing more profound than one foul day.
  3. Reviewed by: Renee Graham
    Banek is one of the more complex characters Affleck has attempted, but the performance comes off flat and uninvolving.
  4. It's watchable from start to finish, despite lapses in common sense, and it boasts a terrific cast of over-40 actors.
  5. Reviewed by: Sergio Mims
    Jackson's portrait of impotent rage is tremendous, and Affleck, who drops his usual smugness, is surprisingly good.
  6. 100
    This is one of the best movies of the year.
  7. A thrilling ride but also a thoughtful one, it's a movie that does manage to do more good than bad by the end of the day.
  8. 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.
  9. 70
    As it stands Changing Lanes already exceeds expectations, provoking serious thought while skillfully telling a compelling, character-driven story.
  10. 70
    Although what ensues is generally unsurprising and as pro forma down-and-dirty as the genre dictates, it's also on occasion rather affecting.
  11. Frustrating yet deeply watchable melodrama that makes you think it's a tougher picture than it is.
  12. 75
    Loses its nerve in the final minutes, relying on a series of contrivances to arrive at an unconvincingly pat, happy ending. The story begged for a darker, more biting resolution.
  13. If you can roll with these moments, the rest of the film pays off, but even with a relatively happy ending (one that, given the characters in question, may not last), it's a heck of a downer for date night.
  14. 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.
  15. More entertaining than it has a right to be. It's pulpy and preposterous, and yet it gets at a real truth.
  16. 100
    Glossy, big-budget thriller that qualifies as the season's biggest and most rewarding surprise.
  17. Seething, searing tragedy of unmannerliness.
  18. 67
    Deeply strange, oddly shimmery movie.
  19. 75
    While Changing Lanes isn't a perfect movie, it's watchable and compelling, and works on more than one level.
  20. 60
    What these guys do for revenge during one hellish day in the Big Apple makes the panic room look like Barney's toy box. The film itself goes off the deep end way before the end credits.
  21. Reviewed by: Damien Cave
    Despite some solid acting and cinematography -- mistakenly turns what should have been a fast-paced thriller into a cerebral sermon about the slippery slope of corporate law.
  22. Modern film noir done with flair and commitment.
  23. The movie just seems like one more Hollywood cop-out, and a waste of our original emotional investment.
  24. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    It's an elegant, civilized, and deeply liberal piece of craftsmanship, with the sort of social conscience you rarely encounter in a modern American thriller.
  25. 80
    Out of that clever setup, Changing Lanes pulls both the promised taut suspense and a much deeper film: an ethics thriller.
  26. Definitely erratic, this thing -- all in all, it's the sort of commercial vehicle you might want to stay well back of.
  27. 50
    It is so dishonest that the title Changing Lanes can just as well refer to the cheaply contrived turns in the film.
  28. 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]
  29. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    Bleak and complex moral thriller.
  30. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    If it's not conventionally speedy, it is almost always gripping.
  31. Reviewed by: Robert Koehler
    Captures the excitement of lightning in a bottle.
  32. 60
    Smitten by the symmetry of his parable, director Roger Michell crosscuts emphatically between the preening leads -- a strategy that only draws attention to the numerous lapses in logic and unpersuasive changes of heart while sidelining the lively supporting cast
  33. A curious combination of strident preachment and smartly farcical thriller; it's heavy-handed and light-footed at the same time.
  34. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    The movie goes for the throat and keeps squeezing.
  35. Far richer than you'd ever think possible.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 50 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 31
  2. Negative: 1 out of 31
  1. 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.
    Full Review »
  2. 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. Full Review »
  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. Full Review »