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When wealth and poverty collide

Review by Gillian Russom | June 7, 2002 | Page 9

MOVIES: Roger Michell, Changing Lanes, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Ben Affleck.

CHANGING LANES is about two men who live in different worlds--and what happens when those worlds collide.

A car crash on FDR Drive in New York City is just the beginning of the conflict between white corporate lawyer Gavin Bannock (Ben Affleck) and Black insurance salesman Doyle Gipson (Samuel L. Jackson). The two travel the same freeways every day, but their lives couldn't be more different.

While Bannock works in a spacious office decorated with expensive paintings, Gipson sits in a crowded row of salespeople making phone calls. While Bannock saunters into probate court to defend his law firm from allegations that they stole from a charity, Gipson must pass through metal detectors and a packed waiting room to get to divorce court.

Bannock is given all day to present his case, while Gipson loses custody of his children when he arrives 20 minutes late.

Changing Lanes also shows the social roots of alcoholism and violence, as Gipson tries to control his temper and his craving for alcohol while life's everyday pressures--racism, poverty and constant harassment--make this next to impossible.

Through his encounter with Gipson, Bannock comes to ask, "We're taught this fairytale that the good end well and the bad end poorly. Do you really believe that stuff?"

For a movie that cuts through the fairytales we're taught under capitalism, check out Changing Lanes.

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