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Despite the marketing department’s excellent taste in song when choosing Radiohead’s “Everything In Its Right Place” for the trailer, The Accountant simply didn’t reflect what a tolerable movie looks like for me. I was put off by the idea of a mismatched romance between the characters Ben Affleck and Anna Kendrick portray. The action was practically non-existent as the trailer relied on the bland mystery aspect of the film most of all. However, I’ll gladly admit my first impressions were completely off-base, as The Accountant, as a full feature, hits a near home run.
Directed by hit-or-miss artist Gavin O’Connor (Warrior, Miracle, Jane Got a Gun), this titillating thriller stars Affleck as an autistic mathematician/secret badass Christian Wolff. As the previews hinted, Wolff is a genius with numbers, but struggles with basic human interaction, thanks to his neurodevelopmental disorder. As the picture strolls along, we’re shown Wolff’s childhood and questionable upbringing, in addition to his contention with a dangerous client. Of course Christian (or Chris) services many dangerous clients by assisting them in covering up fraudulent transactions, but this one client decides to deem our math whiz as expendable and forces him to literally fight for his survival.
The satisfaction in viewing The Accountant mostly comes from the gratifying action sequences. The entire story builds and builds, posing question after question about our lead character and his background, taking the audience on a curious journey with a seemingly unimposing prodigy. Chris begins working with a legitimate client that needs a glaring discrepancy in their books settled, as a U.S. Treasury agents Ray King (played by J.K. Simmons) and Marybeth Medina (played by Cynthia Addai-Robinson) begin to thoroughly investigate our hero’s origins to discover his whereabouts. When one of this client’s employees drops dead, Chris’s research is abruptly canceled, the body count starts to rise, and a conspiracy unfolds.
Finally, after an abundance of exposition, a few unknown assailants show up to claim the titular accountant’s life, and we receive our first action scene. Affleck’s fluidity in his fighting comes off as entirely both believable and intimidating. It’s clear he could dispose of an army if he needed to. A couple of scenes later, Chris utilizes a silenced pistol and passes out as many gratuitous head-shots as possible with it to his enemies. This should be immediately reminiscent to all action fans of 2014 favorite John Wick. The Accountant spreads out its action more than Wick, which makes you feel you earned those scenes. The finale here is comparable to when Wick infiltrated a club and took out anyone who stood in his way. Especially considering how bored I was by the idea of this movie before seeing it, I now contrarily declare: this film simply has the best non-franchise movie action all year.
This wouldn’t be a legitimate review without criticisms levied against the picture in question. Like I had previously informed, there’s an awful lot of exposition until the gripping fights. I found myself a little antsy and mildly frustrated the movie asked so many questions. It made me presume the movie would run out of time before satisfactorily answering every one of those mysteries. That presumption was proven wrong, like my many others, but regardless, the pacing could have certainly been improved.
Furthermore, I was surprised at how little Anna Kendrick, playing Wolff’s client’s accountant named Dana Cummings, was present. She’s marketed as the 2nd lead to Affleck, yet probably only has about 30 minutes or less in the movie. I’d hazard a guess that powerhouses Jon Bernthal and J. K. Simmons had more scenes than Kendrick. Regardless, there are zero weak links in the entire cast. We already know how gifted all the of aforementioned actors are, which also includes John Lithgow and Jeffrey Tambor, and I feel the script really gave every actor enough to chew on for audiences to remember, even if it’s very little actual screen time.
Another aspect I admired from The Accountant included how it turned me around on Dana and Christian’s potential romance. The two had unpredictably palpable chemistry, which made their relationship feel real and relatable. Lastly and most importantly, this movie’s portrayal of autism was respectful and commendable. There was nothing cartoonish about it (aside from the ass-kicking part), and the nuances in Affleck’s performance, if you notice them, really drove home how the disorder affects socializing and how it inspires a very rigid daily routine.
The Accountant will stand out for me as the movie with the most exhilarating action from a non-franchise title, and for its realistic, memorable performances from all cast members. I may differ from professional critics, but take it from a serious action flick fanboy, The Accountant definitely holds up as a very entertaining and intriguing movie despite any of its inconsequential flaws.