Changing Lanes (2002)

I saw the trailer for this movie a good bit of time ago, and thought at the time that it looked interesting, in a general thriller type of fashion.

The sort of thing you catch on HBO or rent on a particularly slow weekend or something (long after it has left the new release price bracket).

I finally got around to seeing it just tonight.

It was actually quite good, something I was admittedly sort of expecting after reading Roger Ebert’s four star review. The characters were a lot less clear cut on the good guy/bad guy thing, and the background plot (such as “THE FILE”) seemed a lot less McGuffin-y than I first thought they appeared. Samuel L. Jackson of course did get pissy in a couple of scenes (I wonder if people give him the same crap they give Pacino…?) but did lead a good solid performance (essentially as always, I suppose…). Ben Affleck turned in a surprisingly good effort as well, the first interview he goes to, just after the accident being a particular standout, and seeming surprisingly honest and real.

The whole thing, actually, felt pretty ‘real’ (in the sense of emotional truth) and was quite successful, and despite a SOMEWHAT tidy ending, it made sense, and especially made sense in light of what appeared to be the message or central point of the film, with regard to recognizing the other people in the world around us.
William Hurt also turned in a good role, I’d like to mention, as he typically seems thoroughly wooden to me, just because (I think) of his peculiar vocal quality.

The DVD was a bit piddling, but it was not exactly an SE or anything, just two deleted scenes and one extended one (the extended one did seem to muddle things, and the deleted ones didn’t really add anything important) as well as two short featurettes–one the ass-kissing promo crap, the other clearly lifted from Sundance’s Anatomy of a Scene, with discussion from the producer and writer. And a trailer. The trailer I remembered…that did cast things more clearly black and white, good and bad–as well as a lot more action-packed than it technically was, though the action was in fact all there.

Anyway. Off to another episode of X-Files, I think.

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