THE ACCOUNTANT (2016) Movie Review

by on June 11, 2017

in Entertainment, movie reviews

Ben Affleck in THE ACCOUNTANT, a Review

The Accountant is like a good Doctor Who episode about the assassin, John Wick. No! Seriously. It’s a curious, complicated and smart film about a bookkeeper who also happens to be one hell of an assassin when he needs to be. But the film starts out a bit convoluted but as the story goes on, it develops into a cohesive narrative with more than enough surprising twists to keep it fresh throughout. But you have to get past the opening act to start to appreciate them all.

Ben Affleck Movies.

The Accountant stars Ben Affleck as Christian Wolff, an accountant who works for very dangerous criminal type organizations. What makes him real good at his job is that he’s also a brilliant math savant. And his being savant, and how his father treated his precarious mental condition, contributes to his present state of being and career.

Dana (Anna Kendrick) is a bookkeeper who thinks she’s discovered some errant numbers on the books of the company she works at, so her boss, Lamar Blackburn, (John Lithgow), hires Wolff to figure out if there is an issue or not, and sure enough, he finds the problem, which sets some serious trouble in motion, for both Dana and Wolff.

Blackburn hires his own assassin, Brax, (Jon Bernthal) to eliminate the two people, Dana and Wolff, who now knows about the fraudulent behavior, which just makes things even more complicated all around.

Then there’s Ray King, an agent of the Treasury Department, who pressures another young agent, Marybeth Medina (Cynthia Addai-Robinson), to totally focus on pursuing this mystery bookkeeper. And she’s good at what she does.

The film is directed by Gavin O’Connor (Warrior, Pride and Glory, Tumbleweeds) off a script by Bill Dubuque (The Judge, A Family Man, Ozark).

The film’s opening act starts out touching on several plot points of the story, starting with a flashback in time, following an assassin who infiltrates and eliminates 9 criminals in their own hideout, using their own guns against them. We then watch Wolff as a child, another flashback, learning about his condition. We learn that his parents were offered help by an institute in New Hampshire, to help guide Christian on his path through his childhood, but we see that his father declines the help, choosing instead, to manage his son his own way, the man’s way, by immersing him in the things that will challenge him instead of coddling him. We pop to the present and watch the start of the Treasury Department’s deep investigation into this “Accountant,” whom they later learn is Wolff.

Here’s the catch:

The opening act is pretty busy, populated with stories that don’t seem relevant to each other and as a whole, are almost too complicated to follow initially. But like a good Doctor Who episode, you might start out slightly confounded, not sure how all these points relate, but as the story unfolds, all the fragmented story threads slowly start to interweave into one decent tale.

The trick is that each of the “disjointed” stories are good enough on their own to catch your attention, wanting to know more about what they offer.

The beauty of this film starts to unfold in how the different plot points do come together and in such a way, that they’re more like plot twists, with one twist after another unfolding itself in ways that I DID NOT SEE COMING.

In the end, Wolff’s autistic issues, which I believe was a form of Aspergers, completely contribute to his high level of efficiency at both his bookkeeping and his prowess as an assassin. Prowess that reminded me of John Wick. His mental condition also lent itself to a wonderfully written subtext of the film.

But how did he get like John Wick? His father, a hard-nosed, military career man. Instead of coddling him, he teaches Christian that people are not going to like him and he needs to be ready for their bullshit. Ready in ways that will teach them that they can’t f!!! with him.

Affleck pulls off this higher-operating autistic savant wonderfully as he exhibits the classic, run-of-the-mill non-sociable traits of one who doesn’t like dealing with people.

Kendrick does not have a huge role, but it’s integral to how Affleck’s character goes off his usual script of actions. She fulfills what can be considered the cute and almost sexy, near-potential love interest who is more socially integrated with society than Wolff but with strongly similar likes and interests, as we learn how she too, seems a bit disconnected from society, but not in the same way as Wolff. She’s more the standard introvert who gets him.

Simmons plays a career Treasury agent role in a script that does not take advantage of his acting talents but as the story moves on, his character has as much to contribute to the culmination of the tale as anyone else.

Bernthal may have delivered one of his better characters. Sure, it’s his usual tough-man role, but there was something just different enough about him that made this feel like his Punisher role that he portrayed in the Marvel Netflix series, Daredevil.

Lithgow was Lithgow, delivering his usual Lithgos, which you’ll see what I mean as the story develops.

And to be honest, I’ve left out a bunch so the surprises and reveals have as much value to you as they did me, when I found myself muttering, “No shit!”, time and time again.

– – –

As far as reviews go, I get how the professional movie critics can end up showing a Rotten Tomatoes score of 52%. The Accountant has a tough start, with one critic from Empire saying it’s

“A noisy, disjointed financial thriller that sets up Affleck and Simmons as competitors but fails to unite their plot strands into anything resembling actual thrills.”

Another critic from The NY Times said

“Entire backstories were presumably left on the cutting-room floor of this overlong movie that never arrives at a destination.”

I swear, these statements make perfect sense if they came from people who did not stay for the third act of the film. And again, I’ll let you discover how incorrect these statements are for when you watch the movie.

But movie-goers who had seen the entire film scored it with a respectable 7.4/10 on IMDb.

Had I seen this movie in the theaters, I would have felt like it was worth every penny spent. As it is, it’s now on HBO and it’s a worthy addition to their inventory. I’d even go so far as to give it a 9/10 on my popcorn movie review scale. I also think this movie is a worthy addition to any Affleck fans BD collection.

So if you settle in to watch this movie, pay attention, enjoy the disjointed tale of tales, and enjoy the different plots blend into one hell of a payout in The Accountant!

IMDb, NYTimes, Empire Online.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Paul Forcey June 12, 2017 at 9:28 am

I wasn’t sure about this movie, I thought it may to action orientated for my wife to enjoy.

I was so wrong, we loved the back stories and the action and even the ending was fulfilling.

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