Changing Lanes | Chicago Reader

Changing Lanes

Chucking the sunny optimism of Notting Hill, director Roger Michell takes a jaundiced look at barely suppressed race and class warfare. After a fender bender, two desperate souls—a salesman who's a recovering alcoholic (Samuel L. Jackson) and an ambitious Wall Street lawyer (Ben Affleck)—engage in increasingly dangerous attacks on each other. Screenwriters Chap Taylor and Michael Tolkin like to stop the clammy, claustrophobic action for lectures about the cruel and wicked world we live in, but the moral ambiguities and nihilism, with only a faint hope of redemption, still pack a punch. Jackson's portrait of impotent rage is tremendous, and Affleck, who drops his usual smugness, is surprisingly good. With Toni Collette, William Hurt, Amanda Peet, and Sydney Pollack. 100 min.

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