Changing Lanes appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Overall, the transfer seemed satisfying.
Sharpness usually seemed solid. Some softness stemmed from photographic choices, as we’d see shots come in and out of focus. Obviously that was the result of the original production and not an issue with the transfer. However, a little edge enhancement meant wide shots could be slightly off. Nonetheless, the vast majority of the flick was concise and well-defined. No signs of jaggies or shimmering appeared, and source flaws were mild. I witnessed a few small specks but nothing more.
Colors seemed good. The movie veered into some stylized tones at times and tended to favor a chilly blue palette. Within that range, the hues were clear and lively. Black levels seemed deep and rich, while shadow detail was appropriately heavy but not overly thick. Lanes offered a slightly flawed but still positive image.
The Dolby Digital TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack of Changing Lanes displayed no significant concerns, but it seemed no better than pretty good due to a lack of sonic ambition. For most of the movie, the soundfield demonstrated a fairly heavy forward emphasis. This broadened somewhat as the film progressed, and it included a few scenes that used the surrounds to good effect. For example, one sequence in which sprinklers go off in an office provided nicely convincing use of the rears. From the front, the mix featured very good ambience and stereo presence for the music, but the lack of much more than general reinforcement from the surrounds seemed a little weak.
Audio quality appeared fine throughout the movie. Speech came across as natural and distinct, with no problems related to edginess or intelligibility. Music sounded bright and vivid and showed nice dynamic range. Effects appeared crisp and lively, and the entire package boasted solid depth. Bass response seemed tight and lacked any boomy qualities. Overall, the soundtrack of Changing Lanes probably could have been a little more involving, but it still seemed satisfactory for the movie.
Expect all the same supplements from the DVD. Up first we get an audio commentary from director Roger Michell, who offers a running, screen-specific track. Michell proves to be fairly chatty; a moderate number of empty spaces occur, but these never seem too problematic. In general, Michell provides a moderately interesting view of the film. He tends to concentrate on elements like sets, locations, and the weather. Some insight comes along with this, and the commentary remains listenable at all times, but it never becomes much more than that. Overall, Michell puts forth a fairly mediocre track
Next we discover The Making of Changing Lanes, an exceedingly superficial featurette about the film. The 15-minute program offers the usual mix of film clips, shots from the set, and interviews. We hear from director Michell as well as actors Ben Affleck, Samuel L. Jackson, Sydney Pollack and Toni Collette. A few of the behind the scenes bits seem briefly interesting, but the vast majority of the piece heavily concentrates on promotional aspects. We mostly watch snippets from the film, and the interviews either tell us about the story and the characters or inform us how great everyone is. This is an utterly banal program that you probably will want to skip.
A Writer’s Perspective offers comments from screenwriters Chap Taylor and Michael Tolkin. They provide some basic character insight and a few decent remarks about the movie’s themes. Unfortunately, the six and a half minute program packs in too many film clips, so we don’t learn a whole lot along the way.
In addition to the film’s trailer, the disc tosses in two deleted scenes and one extended scene. Each of these lasts between two minutes, 13 seconds and four minutes, 37 seconds, for a total of nine minutes, 30 seconds of footage. Of the cut sequences, one shows another job interview conducted by Gavin, and it allows him to demonstrate his thoughts about the deceased benefactor whose fund he supervises. The other offers more problems for Doyle, as his boss tries to fire him. The first might have been useful, since it humanizes Gavin a little, but the second needed to go; we see enough of Doyle’s issues, so we didn’t require more of that.
As for the extended scene, it features Gavin in the confessional. The extra material focuses on an issue we hear about elsewhere as well as Gavin’s desire to harm Doyle. Frankly, the footage makes Gavin look like a total psycho, so they made the right choice to lose it. The confessional scene seems dark enough as it stands, and this stuff might have turned the audience on him irreversibly.
Changing Lanes won’t win any awards, but the movie provides a nicely taut and involving little thriller. Aided by a couple of compelling actors, the film maintains a tense pace and it remains lively and entertaining from start to finish. The Blu-ray provides very good picture along with somewhat subdued but still solid sound and a decent package of extras. Changing Lanes merits a look, and this Blu-ray brings it to life well.
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