Day of reckoning

A tale of redemption" is a phrase that film critics like to toss around. It usually makes some sense, since most dramas have at least one character who realizes the error of his or her ways and tries to do something about it before the curtain falls--a sort of low-rent form of redemption.

High-end redemption is harder to come by in contemporary American cinema. (It used to be a real crowd-pleaser, back in the silent days of D. W. Griffith [Intolerance] and Erich von Stroheim [Greed], and in the populist tales of Frank Capra and Preston Sturges. After that, the theme was mostly left to foreign directors such as Ingmar Bergman and Krzysztof Kieslowski.) But Roger Michell's Changing Lanes is a big-budget movie about redemption, and it treats the theme with surprising grace and intelligence.


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