The Accountant - Gavin O’Connor
If you were asked to name the most boring profession, I feel the majority, if not all, would say being an accountant. So why the hell is there a film about a badass killing machine who also happens to be an accountant? I would have loved to have been in the boardroom during the pitch. Regardless, the trailer showed a unique action film, and I was immediately on board.
Ben Affleck plays Christian Wolff, an accountant with high-functioning autism. A lack of social skills and difficulty connecting with people all hiding a brilliant individual, much like Raymond Babbitt in Rain Man. While he runs a one-man accounting firm in a small town, he handles international accounts for villainous people. Wolff is called in to take a look at the financial activity of a sophisticated prosthetics company, uncook the books, and hopefully find the responsible individual. Off in D.C., Ray King, played by J.K Simmons, tasks an aspiring individual, Marybeth Medina (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) to track down “the accountant.”
Calling the film a slow burn would be a disservice. For a while, the film does the very necessary work of thoroughly setting up the world of the film. We see how Wolff handles his everyday schedule (very important for someone who is autistic) and responds to others. Every once in awhile we get flashbacks of his upbringing, seeing him living with his crumbling military family and his father training him to fight so he won’t be “taken advantage of.” It’s weird to say, but the moment Wolff starts uncooking the books for this large company is when the film really start to ratchet up. As soon as Wolff sees the discrepancies and starts figuring things out, he's called off the project and some unexpected attention starts coming in. It's all very intriguing, even when we’re really just looking at some numbers.
Jon Bernthal makes his way into the film and, in my opinion, steals every scene he's in as an honorable yet unhinged hitman. The way he sets aside his gun in order to even the playing field in his confrontations, but can deliver a swift hit when he's interrupted or a full beatdown for “asking the wrong questions” makes for some truly white-knuckle scenes. It's almost unfair that we don’t see more of him in the film, especially since the federal investigation scenes are neither entertaining nor important most of the time. It comes together at the end, but I certainly would have chosen more Bernthal over Addai-Robinson.
While I wouldn’t consider the film an action movie, per se, it's certainly well-shot and the choreography is brutal. The two sides of the fight are very apparent: frantic camera movements following either low-level mercenaries or special ops, and a steady, clean-moving style for Affleck. It really drives home that he is both incredibly well-trained and quite merciless as a result. There’s a quick encounter where Wolff uses a belt to disarm and then kill a henchman after getting the little information he wants. These scenes are nicely spaced out over the course of the movie, providing some really great and heavy action amid key moments in the thrilling tale.
I don’t know why this currently (10/15/16) sits at a 52% on Rotten Tomatoes. I would understand a 70%, since the trailers did make it out to be more action-oriented than it is and the fed’s storyline isn’t all that interesting, but 52%? I believe the positives outweigh the negatives in a tremendous way. Don’t brush this film off based on the rating, if you’re the sort of person that goes by critical consensus. Is it the most thought provoking film of the year? Not at all. Does it offer something any other film this year doesn’t have? Not necessarily. It just does what it does extremely well.
"Curtains" is where you can catch movie reviews by the Metal Lifestyle staff.