Changing Lanes is surprising in many respects. One might not expect it to be as heavy a study of human behavior as it turns out to be. This is a film about how people respond to situations and how they interact with each other and who’s good and who’s bad. It’s a very interesting study of what people do and the lengths they go to. As it turns out, throughout the film it’s the characterization that shines through. It all revolves around the writing. The scenario and narrative is legitimately good. It’s enticing and surprisingly intelligent. The plot is superb.
The film is simply shot and simply directed, but it’s adequate on all levels and more than serviceable. Ultimately this is good; the story just doesn’t call for flashy direction, and it’s better without. One of the best things about the narrative is its ability to generate tension. In fact, it can grow stifling at times. It’s a very compelling. Interesting, and entertaining watch.
Regarding the acting, Ben Affleck is fine. He doesn’t toss up anything special, but his performance is capable, Ben Affleck-esque. Judging by his recent performances, I think it’s fair to say that Samuel L. Jackson is surprisingly good. A somber performance is required from him and he delivers. It’s also got a great ambient soundtrack that really sets the mood for the tale.
I can only find fault with the ending. The film’s outlook on people is grim and bleak throughout. But the film concludes with a happy ending traditional for Hollywood, and a bright pop song pipes through the credits. When 99% of your film has been more than heavy, making that final 1% lighthearted feels disingenuous. A grim, bleaker ending would have been significantly more powerful, and, indeed, more deserved. As it happens, that’s not what was delivered, and it left me a little disappointed. In the final analysis, though, this is a fine picture.