Changing Lanes

I’m faced by a dilemma with Changing Lanes. I thought it was an excellent movie, but it doesn’t sound right to say I liked it. It focuses on two men, played by Ben Affleck and Samuel Jackson, who have a minor auto accident, and the escalation of animosity that occurs between them over the course of a very busy day. As they get progressively angrier at each other, they become willing to abandon their professed morality to get revenge for the wrongs they’ve suffered.

It’s a vivid portrait of the eyeless, toothless world that results from those choices, and a critical examination of what one bases one’s personal moral code on. Surprisingly, the end of the film is quite satisfying emotionally, not leaving us in the mire we’ve had to go through, but showing the men finally taking responsibility for themselves and their choices, though not in the facile way one generally expects from Hollywood melodrama.

Altogether, not a particularly easy movie to watch at times, but quite good. The discomfort it produces is not there, as sometimes seems to be the case, for its own sake, but is instead designed to make the results of a mentality of revenge painfully clear — a task at which it succeeds admirably.