Changing Lanes

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Changing Lanes
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRoger Michell
Screenplay byChap Taylor
Michael Tolkin
Story byChap Taylor
Produced byScott Rudin
CinematographySalvatore Totino
Edited byChristopher Tellefsen
Music byDavid Arnold
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • April 12, 2002 (2002-04-12)
Running time
99 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$45 million[1]
Box office$94.9 million

Changing Lanes is a 2002 American drama thriller film directed by Roger Michell and starring Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson. The film follows a successful, young Wall Street lawyer (Affleck) who accidentally crashes his car into a vehicle driven by a middle-aged, recovering alcoholic insurance salesman (Jackson). After the lawyer leaves the scene of the accident, the two men try to get back at each other, engaging in a variety of immoral and illegal actions that end up having a major impact on each man's life.

The film was released on April 12, 2002 in North America by Paramount Pictures. The film was favorably reviewed by critics, and it was a box office success, earning almost $95 million against a $45 million budget. Writers Chap Taylor and Michael Tolkin were nominated for the WAFCA Award for Best Original Screenplay for their work.[2]


In New York City, two men are rushing to court. One, a middle-aged, insurance salesman named Doyle Gipson, a recovering alcoholic attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings to stay sober, is en route to a hearing to argue for joint custody of his sons with his estranged wife. The other, a successful, young, Wall Street attorney named Gavin Banek, is rushing to file a power of appointment document to prove a dead man signed his foundation over to Banek's law firm. Banek is distracted while driving on the FDR Drive and his 2000 Mercedes-Benz CLK 430[3] collides with Gipson's 1988 Toyota Corolla.[4] Banek tries to brush Gipson off with a blank check, rather than exchanging insurance information, thereby disobeying the law. Gipson refuses to accept the check and voices his desire to "do this right", but Banek, whose car is still drivable, insists upon leaving immediately. He leaves Gipson stranded, telling him, "better luck next time." After arriving to the court late, Gipson learns that the judge ruled against him in his absence, giving sole custody of the boys to Gipson's wife and allowing her to proceed with a plan to move to Oregon, never knowing that Gipson was about to buy a house locally and give it to his wife and children as part of his effort to make joint custody workable for everyone.

When Banek gets to court, he realizes that he dropped the crucial power of appointment file at the scene of the accident, and the judge gives him until the end of the day to retrieve it. Gipson, who scooped up the file, is torn, and initially refuses to return the file. Banek, who is desperate to get his papers back, goes to a "fixer", a shady computer hacker, and gets him to switch off Gipson's credit, destroying Gipson's chance for a home loan to keep his family together. Gipson is distraught when he finds out his credit has been ruined and he comes close to drinking again. Determined to get back at Banek, Gipson removes several lug nuts from one of Banek's wheels, and Banek suffers some minor injuries after his car crashes on the highway. An infuriated Banek goes to the elementary school of Gipson's children and tells school officials that Gipson plans to kidnap the boys, so Gipson is arrested and jailed. His enraged wife declares her intention to move forward with taking their sons to Oregon and says that Gipson will never see them again.

Both men, shaken by the consequences of their actions, start to reconsider their desire for vengeance and try to find a way out. Although it appears unlikely that either man will achieve what he had hoped, both resolve to let go and do what is right, and the two men apologize to each other. Gipson returns the file containing the power of appointment, which Banek knows will discredit illegal forgeries submitted earlier by his firm, and he uses it to blackmail his boss to conduct business honestly and get approval to represent Gipson pro bono to resolve his legal troubles. Banek also visits Gipson's wife, asking her to "give me five minutes." The next day, Gipson is walking and notices his wife and sons standing across the street, smiling at him.



Box office[edit]

The film was a box office success, with a budget of $45,000,000, it grossed $66,818,548 in the United States and $28,117,216 internationally, for a total gross of $94,935,764.[1]

Critical response[edit]

Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an approval rating of 77% based on 151 reviews, with an average rating of 7/10. The site's critics consensus states: "Though some may find its conclusion unsatisfying, Changing Lanes is a tense, well-crafted exploration of meaty ethical dilemmas."[5] Metacritic assigned the film a weighted average score of 69 out of 100, based on 36 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[6] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B−" on an A+ to F scale.[7]

Roger Ebert of Chicago Sun-Times praised the film, calling it one of the year's best.[8]


  1. ^ a b "Changing Lanes (2002)". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on May 14, 2010. Retrieved October 7, 2010.
  2. ^ "Washington DC Film Critics Name Nicholson and Moore as Best of 2002". PRnewswire. 2002-12-30. Archived from the original on 2015-10-06. Retrieved 2021-07-03.
  3. ^ Archived 2022-10-17 at the Wayback Machine in Changing Lanes, Movie, 2002
  4. ^ Archived 2022-10-17 at the Wayback Machine 1988 Toyota Corolla [AE92] in Changing Lanes, Movie, 2002
  5. ^ Changing Lanes Movie Reviews, Pictures Archived 2020-09-18 at the Wayback Machine. 'Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 12, 2014.
  6. ^ "Changing Lanes Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic. Archived from the original on 2020-08-06. Retrieved 2020-04-28.
  7. ^ "Find CinemaScore" (Type "Changing Lanes" in the search box). CinemaScore. Archived from the original on January 2, 2018. Retrieved December 23, 2020.
  8. ^ Ebert, Roger (April 12, 2002). "Changing Lanes – Reviews". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on June 25, 2021. Retrieved March 12, 2013.

External links[edit]