Stars: Ben Affleck, Samuel L Jackson, Toni Collette, Sydney Pollack Director: Roger Michell The film: Ben Affleck rates as one of the surprise packages of 2002. The cocksure, all-American boy has reinvigorated his career over the past 12 months, giving the role of Jack Ryan a convincingly fresh look in The Sum Of All Fears and then turning in what is his most impressive performance yet in Changing Lanes. Director Roger Michell also takes a detour from what we've seen before, jumping from the romantic-comedy of Notting Hill to deliver a gritty, explosive and engrossing thriller. Set in New York, Changing Lanes throws together two characters from vastly different backgrounds: Gavin Banek (Affleck), a young-gun lawyer, and Doyle Gibson (Jackson), a recovering alcoholic. They're involved in a minor collision as both are heading to meetings they can ill afford to miss, setting in motion a wild ride of revenge and retribution. Affleck brings his smarmy charm to the boil while Jackson bristles with indignant self-righteousness as their battle ebbs and flows across town. The conflict forces both men to question their morality and, eventually, to realise just how much they have in common. The only downside is that things tend to splutter towards the end, rather than carrying you all the way to the finish. Still, in much the same way as Michael Douglas did in Falling Down (1993), it paints a frighteningly believable picture of life in the urban jungle. The extras: A surprisingly interesting commentary track takes you through the New York streets used during filming - it was the first major production in the city after 9/11. The director also reveals he isn't too happy with the ending, one that was rewritten to make it more 'optimistic'. The 'making of ...' gives the game away, so don't go near it until you've watched the main feature. The verdict: After the fluffy nonsense of Notting Hill, Michell proves he has what it takes to steer a quality vehicle.