Changing Lanes

A classic example of making something out of nearly nothing.

Two guys run into each other on a New York freeway - well to do lawyer Gavin (Affleck) and down and out recovering alcoholic and father trying to hold on to his kids Doyle (Jackson).

The collision is a metaphor for their colliding lives - when Gavin leaves an important court document in Doyle's car, Doyle takes his revenge for Gavin not doing the right thing by him (ie reporting it properly) by refusing to give the file up.

The two men get further into each other's lives over the course of the day in a game of one-upmanship that leads to high-level fallout and the search for the meaning of existence.

Gavin is made to see the error of his ways in pursuing the get rich quick scheme of law (as he looks further into the case he's working on), and Doyle gets increasingly desperate and out of control at his bad luck.

Both performers are at the top of their field, and inject fresh realism and emotion into - to be truthful - a small-time story. Stylistically jerky, maddening camerawork and direction (obviously made to parallel the desperation in both mens' lives) is reminiscent of the too-cool-for-mainstream attitude of Bandits, but it doesn't stumble quite in the same way, buoyed by just enough to engage you in the story.

Let down somewhat by a touchy-feely happy ending that undid much of the drama that got each character where he was.

And like her style over the last few years, Toni Collette just keeps popping up out of nowhere.

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