The Accountant (15)
Director: Gavin O’Connor
Writer: Bill Dubuque
Stars: Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons, Jon Bernthal and John Lithgow
Running time: 2hrs 8mins
As a math savant uncooks the books for a new client, the Treasury Department closes in on his activities and the body count starts to rise.
OK, here’s the honest truth, this movie blew me away on almost every level.
The plot is, at first glance, pretty straightforward; Affleck is an accountant, Christian Wolff, who also happens to be a maths savant and does shady work for anyone who can hire him, be they companies missing large sums of money or drug cartels looking to find out who is stealing from them.
He’s the best at what he does and because of his mental brilliance and uniqueness, he needs to follow strict rules that he sets himself and must always finish what he begins.
The FBI treasury, headed by the ever superb JK Simmons’ Ray King, is aware of Wolff and is looking to track down who he is and King has hired Marybeth Medina (Cynthia Addai-Robinson), a hotshot young agent looking to prove her worth, to find him.
Meanwhile, Wolff has been hired by Lamar Black (Lithgow) to find out where his company’s lost billions is going. While there Wolff befriends Dana Cummings – a never more adorable Anna Kendrick – the company accountant who first noticed something was wrong with the numbers.
Pretty soon they find out they are on a hit-list and must go on the run….
So, pretty straightforward stuff, right?
Well, what elevates the adventure here is a selection of standout performances from pretty much all involved. Each performance, in particular Affleck’s, is measured and human and you believe the situation they are placed in and these performances are nicely aided by the direction of O’Connor who does nothing too flashy -although always good looking – but balances a story that is smart, fast and fun along with a sparse few, very fast and effective action scenes.
It’s rare that a movie so effortlessly balances action, intrigue, great characters, natural humour and style, but this one does.
A few reviews I have read have said it’s confused and doesn’t know what it is and, to an extend, this is true but it’s a reflection of Affleck’s character who, as he says himself, can’t interact socially with others but really wants to, the confusion is the core of who Wolff is – a morally ambiguous character with a strict set of moral guidelines and yes, I did mean to write that. He just wants to find his space in the world, which leads us to…
I’ve also red that, overall, the story doesn’t really go anywhere, this isn’t true, it’s a personal story and, despite being wrapped in industrial espionage and that study of how we look at people mentally different from ‘the norm’, at the end of the day it’s about Wolff connecting and finding who who he really is in the world and that’s exactly what we get.
Overall, The Accountant is fast, fun, smart and cocky and it can be cocky because it rarely puts a foot wrong and delivers a character – or group of characters – that I’d love to meet again but also hope we don’t because it’s unlikely a sequel could deliver as well as this one does. But I’ve been wrong before once or twice… and I hope I am here too.
4 out of 5 Nerds