Friday, October 14, 2016
The Accountant is a wild, whipsmart slap in the face with a ledger. And we're OK with that.
Review by Matt CummingsThe fall movie season is already shaping up to be far better than this Summer's bomb-fest. Ben Affleck's The Accountant is another welcomed shot-in-the-arm, a wild but intelligent action film that features a great cast, some terrific comedy, and matches our need for amazing violence and solid storytelling. This action-thriller's premise is fairly unique: a high-function autistic child becomes the hugely successful accountant/soldier Christian Wolff (Affleck) who's worked with some of the top bad guys to clean up their books. This draws the attention of retiring Treasury agent Ray King (JK Simmons) and a fellow volun-told (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) who's forced to uncover Wolff's wild past. As he investigates a tech company's suspect books, Wolff soon realizes that his work endangers the life of Dana (Anna Kendrick), the employee who discovered the error in the first place. When the hitman Brax (Jon Bernthal) is sent to take her out, Wolff must protect Dana and expose the hitman's financial backing while keeping King from arresting him. The Accountant is truly a complicated film. That plot summary only scratches the surface of the reveals and the incomprehensible math which Wolff utilizes to expose who's been tampering with the tech company's profits. When these and many other reveals are exposed by Writer Bill Dubuque, it only further enlivens the story, demanding our attention lest some shadowy figure offs us. Dubuque also inserts a thoroughly enjoyable dose of acerbic comedy, led mostly by Affleck's quiet disdain for cheap conversation and social situations in general. Every time he opens his mouth, Wolff digs his hole a little deeper. The same goes for Simmons early on, as he graphs a slice of his Whiplash performance onto King. The Accountant is also mesmerizingly brutal as evidenced by Director Gavin O'Connor absolute control of Dubuque's script. He gets the best out of Bernthal's intelligent hitman, Kendrick's overly nerdy/shy nature, and Affleck's hot-cold personality. Dubuque addresses the autism issue with enough care that we empathize with Wolff when he's not allowed to finish whatever he's working on. The way he 'processes' such disappointment might seem too much for some, but if you have a problem with it, then you'll really not like the incredible action which might also look very familiar. Credit Producer Peter Lawson with impressing some of his experience from John Wick to work here, including one scene that will remind audiences of the bizarre cash system used at The Continental Hotel. O'Connor even makes the math scenes pop, not necessarily worrying if we understand them (because I think only an autistic person could) but making them far more interesting than they should be. The Accountant thrives because it deftly balances at least three genres with perfect precision. Wolff's insistence on high-powered weaponry is fantastic, especially when he starts shooting up Brax's team, then proceeds to beat them into submission as well. But it also offers up a soapbox of Autism 101, which might seem a bit off-putting until you learn of yet another sweet reveal involving Wolff's phone partner. The ending is a bit dull, only because the rest of it is so thrilling and hilarious (think Hell or High Water comedy). As unpredictable a film you'll see this year, The Accountant never stops impressing us with its action, acerbic comedy, and expert acting. And while it also sends us an odd message about the importance of autism, it's one hell of a thrill ride all the same, filled with enough Gun-Fu and intelligent conversation to keep anyone entertained. See it early, see it often, and you can thank me in the morning for my brilliant recommendation. The Accountant is rated R for strong violence and language throughout and has a runtime of 128 minutes. Discuss this review with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Matt Cummings at @mfc90125.