DVD Review HTF REVIEW: "Changing Lanes" (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Ronald Epstein, Aug 29, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

    Changing Lanes

    Studio: Paramount
    Year: 2002
    Rated: R
    Film Length: 98 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (2.35:1)

    "Sometimes, God likes to put two guys in a
    paper bag and just let 'em rip"

    When you sit back and ponder upon the theatrical
    success of Changing Lanes, it doesn't take
    you long to realize this is a film that succeeds
    because it looks at the lives of two men with such
    honesty and authenticity. It's as if the filmmakers
    were given an essay on What makes a man?, and
    then left to their own accord to come up with a
    story of how two men try to salvage what is left
    of their humanity and decency.
    The story concerns Gavin Banek (Ben Affleck), a young
    New York City lawyer who is married to his boss'
    daughter (Amanda Peet) and is about to present
    important evidence to a probate court. Doyle Gibson
    (Samuel L. Jackson) is a recovering alcoholic who
    is looking to buy a property so his estranged wife
    and two sons don't have to move out west.
    One one rainy morning as both men rush to get
    themselves to separate court appointments, Gavin
    changes lanes on the FDR highway and their two cars
    collide. In the confusing aftermath, Gibson comes
    into possession of important papers that Gavin
    needs for court. Gibson, who is devastated because
    he is late for his own court hearing, lays the blame
    on Gavin.
    The rest of the movie plays as a big cat and mouse
    game. One thing leads to another as they attempt
    to sabotage each other's lives in order to get what
    they want/need. Gavin has an expert "hack" the
    system making Doyle bankrupt. Because of the
    bankruptcy, Doyle cannot pay for the house that
    he is persuading his ex-wife to move into. Things
    further escalate to dangerous proportions as Gibson
    seeks revenge for having his life ruined.
    How is the transfer?
    The entire film takes place mostly in the course
    of a single rainy, dismal day. The look of the
    film reflects the mood. Nothing is overly bright
    nor vivid here. New York City comes alive throughout
    this film with Salvatore Totino's shaky, unsaturated
    photography. Picture takes on a much darker tone
    giving the transfer a very natural and warm feel.
    Through this warmness, colors do an excellent
    job of making themselves known, particularly the
    blues of Gavin's shirt and tie, the reds of the
    New York City buildings and the purple shirt that
    Gavin's secretary wears. Black levels are also
    very deep giving this film some nice texture.
    Flesh tones are dead-on accurate and there is not
    a hint of grain nor noise to be seen anywhere.
    All of this results in a very fine and detailed
    transfer that ranks up with Paramount's finest.
    The 5.1 Dolby Digital mix is quite good. What
    stands out here the most is David Arnold's hypnotic
    synthesized score that eerily crosses the five
    channels, supplemented by vibrating LFE channel
    bass that I could feel running up my spine. The
    rear channels immerse you in the sounds of New
    York City, particularly in the midst of traffic
    that seem to be dodging your listening area. Sound
    is vibrant, crisp, and full of healthy bass.
    Special Features
    A full-length commentary by Director
    Roger Michell, who with his defined accent, talks
    about filming the movie during the cold months of
    December and January. Look closely in the opening
    credits as Michell points out two instances where
    the World Trade Center appears. Michell removed
    these shots from the theatrical version, but opted
    to place them back in for the DVD release. Michell's
    voice provides a sort of warming effect for his
    commentary that provides insight into the photography
    of the film, the scoring of the film and how
    the Director intelligently pieced his scenes together.
    The Director loves the sounds and sights of New
    York City, and thus, opted to use a few interesting
    camera tricks and angles which he reveals in this
    commentary. Michell tells an interesting story
    about his concerns of hiring world-famous Director
    Sidney Pollack to be a part of the film. He hopes
    to get a small part in some other Director's film.
    The Director talks deeply about his characters and
    their relationships with each other (particularly
    Gavin as his wife). Michell also talks about how he
    took two worlds of his characters and made them
    collide together. He also often ponders how the
    story would have changed if he slightly changed his
    characters and their situations. A very interesting
    and intelligent commentary.
    In The Making of Changing Lanes Ben Affleck
    and Samuel L. Jackson reveal that they were attracted
    to this film because of its honesty and the fact that
    it was character driven. The two actors go on to
    describe the story and their own individual characters
    against the many film clips that are shown. Director
    Roger Michell talks fondly about Affleck's acting
    abilities as does Sidney Pollack, the well-known
    Director who plays his boss. While there a few short
    sequences that take us behind-the-camera, this
    featurette is sort of blah, showing more film clips
    than anything else.
    (length: approx. 15 minutes)
    Here's something we just don't see enough of --
    especially since credit must always be given to The
    writer's perspective. In this featurette, we
    meet screenwriters Michael Tolkin and Chap Taylor
    who give us an in-depth examination of the morals
    of the characters they created. Citing that there
    are no good guys nor bad guys in this film, the
    screenwriters suggest what might have happened to
    their characters should this accident have never
    happened. Both writers hope that people come away
    with this film with a new perspective not only of
    the human being next to them, but the changing world
    around them. Very nice featurette.
    (length: approx. 6 minutes)
    There are two deleted scenes for you to
    enjoy. First up is Gavin interviewing a young
    hopeful named Gordon Pinnella who is interested
    in copyright law (pirates on the internet beware!).
    This scene takes place at the beginning of the film
    as it is apparent that Gavin has his important red
    folder in hand. Next is a scene with Doyle being
    summoned to his boss's office where he receives a
    stern warning about his job performance. Both of
    these scenes run about 2.5 minutes total.
    There is an extended scene that adds to
    the confessional scene towards the end of the
    film. Though the priest offers Gavin some sound
    advice about God, Gavin dismisses the presence of
    God in his life as one big joke.
    (length: approx. 4.3 minutes)
    The film's original theatrical trailer is
    also included here.
    Final Thoughts
    It's nice to see a good story and a very well
    made film that doesn't rely on special effects or
    hardcore action to make its point. We live in a
    society where all of make a deal to live together
    under a set of rules, designed to maintain the
    orderly flow of civilization. This film so
    realistically looks at what happens when someone
    seemingly has broken that deal, and what happens
    when two people are at odds, and each person thinks
    they are on the side of right.
    With its wonderful story and wonderful transfer from
    the folks at Paramount, this is a DVD worth purchasing.
    Release Date: September 10, 2002
  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator

    Dec 9, 1998
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    I've seen this very fine film during it's theatrical release and I should get my dvd copy tomorrow and will revisit the film again this weekend. Very good performances by all actors including those in supporting roles.

  3. Jenna

    Jenna Second Unit

    Feb 12, 2002
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  4. Tino

    Tino Lead Actor

    Apr 19, 1999
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    Metro NYC
    Real Name:
    Thanks for the review Ron. Currently Changing Lanes is my favorite film of 2002 so far.
    It was so good on so many levels and is deeper than is apparent. IMO, Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson give the best performances of their careers in this film.
    I hope it is remembered come Oscar time.[​IMG]
  5. Michael Silla

    Michael Silla Second Unit

    Jul 27, 2001
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    I too hope it is remembered at Oscar time. What a great film. I liked the story with it's elements of redemption. You feel for Samuel L. Jackson's character (despite him being a bit emotional about things) - even at one point I felt sorry for Ben Affleck's character too.

    This is a must have DVD for me.

  6. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

    May 24, 2001
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    This was one damn good film. Looking forward to hearing Michell's commentary.
  7. jacob w k

    jacob w k Stunt Coordinator

    Jun 17, 2002
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    I can't wait to get this one, it's right up there with Blade 2 on my must buy list.
  8. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

    Feb 12, 1998
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    Ron, does Michell say anything about reshooting the ending? I know for a fact that it was reshot not too long before the theatrical release, because one of the film's technical advisors works at my wife's firm and the filmmakers came back to him with questions relating to the reshoot. I'm not sure exactly what was changed, though.

  9. Jeff Bamberger

    Jeff Bamberger Second Unit

    Sep 15, 1999
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    That's my cousin....My Mom's, Uncle's, son-in-law!
  10. Veli-Matti Reitti

    Veli-Matti Reitti Stunt Coordinator

    Jun 29, 2001
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    thanks again for a great review as usual.

    This is a definitive sight unseen purchase for me.
  11. NickFoley

    NickFoley Stunt Coordinator

    May 5, 2002
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    Good review. I cant wait to pick it up.
  12. Jason Borchers

    Jason Borchers Second Unit

    Jan 14, 2001
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  13. Jason Whyte

    Jason Whyte Screenwriter

    Jun 3, 1999
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    Canadian Customers,
    Beware Canadian bilingual packaging:
  14. Kenneth Cummings

    Kenneth Cummings Supporting Actor

    Aug 7, 2001
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    Very good review Ron. Do you consider putting a "Higly Recommanded" on this, as it sound you have no problems with this DVD, aside from the one documentary.
  15. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein
  16. Tim RH

    Tim RH Second Unit

    Nov 20, 2001
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  17. Mike Graham

    Mike Graham Supporting Actor

    Aug 31, 2001
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    To Jason Whyte:
  18. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

    Jan 23, 2000
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    Good work Ron, and I really enjoyed your comments about the commentary. Please keep this feature of your reviews, as I find it very helpful.
    Changing Lanes is still resting high on my list of best of 2002, and takes the crown as the most understimated movie I've seen in several years. Marketed as a revenge thriller, it is one of the best character studies I've ever seen.
    Also, IMDb includes a summary of the delete scene as well as a specific point that the alternate ending will appear on the DVD. Sounds like someone missed the memo that it was cut.
  19. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

    Apr 19, 2000
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  20. rhett

    rhett Supporting Actor

    May 11, 2001
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    Please Paramount, stop the bilingual packaging!
    Nice review though Ron, Changing Lanes is a great film, and so far it is my favorite of the year.

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