Changing Lanes

Your drug of choice was never alcohol. It's chaos.

A review by Mike Shea   Movie Rating: ( * * * · · )    DVD Rating: ( * * * * · )

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This last year was a good one for the film industry. We saw a lack of the typical Hollywood blockbuster and a return to simple movies with simple but deep stories. Compare the latest Schwarzenegger action-packed blockbuster Collateral Damage. A couple of years ago, we’d have all been filing in line ticket in hand. This year, it only made $40 million with an $85 million dollar budget. Changing Lanes, a movie about two aggressors who get into a car wreck, made $66 million with a $40 million dollar budget. This year is a good year. Good movies are getting made, released, and paid for. People are beginning to learn to the difference between a good movie and a bad one. Changing Lanes is a good movie, and people saw it instead of Collateral Damage.

Changing Lanes is a movie better than the sum of its parts. You won’t get any benefit from a description, the plot isn’t what makes it good. The characters, their introspection, the way their friends look at them, and how they handle the cards that they are dealt is what makes it a good movie. The two primary characters go through various stages of guilt and anger, seemingly at staggered times, with the single situation they face. While the movie only follows a day of their lives, we are given a great depth into their character and begin to understand why they act the way they act. Although we are horrified by their actions towards each other – assuming we buy into the realism of the story – we understand why they act they way they act. While they behave inconsistently throughout the movie, the inconsistency fits the chaos of their character.

The only notable problem with the movie is the Hollywood ending. Given the turn of the events, I do not accept that things are so easily righted. I expected a much darker ending than I was given, but in this dark time a little light isn’t always bad.

The DVD of Changing Lanes is much like the movie - pretty good, but not great. It has a 2.35 to 1 16x9 enhanced picture with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. There is a director’s commentary but no DTS track. The movie doesn’t really call for a full special two disc set, but it would have lent more authority to the movie if they had.

Changing Lanes is a good movie. That can mean a lot when you consider it against the worst or the greatest of the year, but on its own it is very entertaining and worth seeing. I wouldn’t pick up a copy of this one, it does not hold itself very well on a shelf, but it is definitely worth a rental.