Changing Lanes is a 2002 drama-thriller film directed by Roger Michell and starring Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson. It was released on April 12, 2002 in North America by Paramount Pictures.
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A successful New York attorney, Gavin Banek, is in a rush to file a power of appointment, which will prove a dead man signed his foundation over to Banek's law firm. He has a collision with another car, belonging to an insurance salesman, Doyle Gipson, who is also in a rush to a hearing to try to gain custody of his children and to prevent his estranged wife from taking them to Oregon. Banek tries to brush Gipson off with a blank check thereby disobeying the law. After Gipson refuses to accept the check and voices his desire to "do the right thing", that is, filing a police report and insurance claim, Banek strands Gipson, telling him, "better luck next time". After arriving to the court late, Gipson learns that it proceeded without him and that it didn't go in his favor.
Unfortunately for Banek, 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 re-obtain the papers and present them. Gipson, who took the papers, has no intention of returning them, and in desperation, Banek goes to someone skilled with computers and gets him to switch off Gipson's credit. Gipson needed credit for a loan so he could buy a house for his family, and he becomes further enraged, determined to make life difficult for Banek.
Both men continue to do morally reprehensible things in an attempt to one-up each other, and eventually they begin to question their actions. Though it is made clear that Banek and Gipson are radically different, they both have an angry, vengeful streak, each capable of abandoning his morals just to punish the other. The film ends with both men having a new outlook on life, concentrating on ethics and the moral implications of their actions. Ultimately the two men apologize to each other and Gipson returns the file, but it looks to be too late for both of what they were trying to do. Banek ends up using the file to force his boss to do the right thing and plans to represent Gipson pro bono so he can get the house he wants. Banek also visits Gipson's wife to explain everything to her, knowing he owes Gipson that much. The movie ends with Gipson's wife and children smiling at him from across the street, indicating a possible reconciliation or at the very least some kind of arrangement between the two in the future.
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