The Accountant (2016)
The Accountant displays enough interesting moments and engaging drama to get by, but falters when trying to present a coherent plot.
Following his great performance as Bruce Wayne/Batman in Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), Ben Affleck trades in his batsuit for a two-piece to star in this film. The Accountant follows Christian Wolff, an autistic man with highly intelligent mathematical and problem solving skills. He works as an accountant for normal working people, as well as criminals, drug lords, arms dealers, and the like. When he is recruited to examine the taxes of a state-of-the-art robotics company, he and fellow accountant Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick) discover a major money discrepancy within the company’s books. Soon after, the person responsible for the discrepancy is killed. To eliminate all loose ends, unknown people request hired guns to kill and take out Christian Wolff and his new friend Dana. Meanwhile, treasury director Ray King (J.K. Simmons) tasks analyst Marybeth Medina (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) to discover the location and identity of Christian Wolff. But, what they all don’t know is that, this particular accountant can protect himself with his set of skills, and also easily disappear without being detected.
The script is written by Bill Dubuque and directed by Gavin O’ Connor. Connor, who is known for writing and directing the beloved Warrior (2011), steps into the director’s chair to tell this unique story about an accountant with great fighting skills and impressive shooting skills. While O’ Connor does deliver a great dramatic film with awesome action scenes, he falters when giving enough character depth to the minor characters.
Ben Affleck is definitely the standout of this film. Affleck—who is known previously for his negatively-criticized roles in movies Paycheck, Daredevil, Gigli—provides one of the best performances of his career. He successfully conveys authentic facial expressions that an autistic person would express on his face. Wolff is a hard character to nail down. An actor would have to capture Wolff’s social awkwardness, as well as make the character likable to a point, where we don’t lose sympathy for the character when he is blunt and short with people. It’s definitely a complex role, and Affleck shoots on target (pun intended).
Anna Kendrick gives a good performance as Dana Cummings. She plays Dana as a likable, ambitious person—who is thrown into this big mess. Dana serves as the “fish-out-of-water” character in the film. From her interactions with Wolff, she (and the audience) learn more about who he is and what he does. From Dana’s conversations with Wolff, she develops a mutual friendship with him—that is completely honest, and interesting to watch. Kendrick is handed the job of playing a friend/love interest to Wolff, while also establishing onscreen chemistry between her and Affleck—for what she’s given, she does a great job.
Other supporting actors do well with what they’re given, but don’t have enough screen time to do their characters justice. J.K. Simmons and Cynthia Addai Robinson play Ray King and Marybeth Medina, respectively. Ray King has Marybeth Medina look into the whereabouts of Wolff. Due to Wolff using many aliases, it has become a challenge for King to find him. Ray King’s and Medina’s mission to find the accountant is an interesting storyline, but in all honesty, it feels disconnected from the rest of the film. That isn’t to say that the scenes with these characters aren’t engaging, it is just that every time we go back to see where they are at in the investigation, it fees somewhat like a detour in the film. Still, the strong performances from Simmons and Addai-Robinson keep us nailed to the seat and have us wanting to learn more about their characters.
Script-wise, Bill Dubuque does a somewhat good job of balancing out the story elements with the action set-pieces. Dubuque gives enough screen time to present Christian Wolff and Dana Cummings as fully-realized characters. Multiple flashbacks highlight Wolff’s tragic backstory; and Dana’s conversations with Wolff serve as a way for viewers to learn more about who she is and why she became an accountant. Due to the amount of time given to these two characters, it is easy for viewers to care a lot for them. Eventually, when the action kicks in, viewers will root for Wolff to defeat the bad guy.
The action scenes entice us every minute they are being played out onscreen. O’ Connor and cinematographer Seamus McGarvey shot the fights with clear, wide-angle shots that capture the choreography and the reactions from the characters—which is really impressive work. However, since the action doesn’t kick in until thirty minutes within the film, it may leave viewers disappointed with the actual amount of action in it. The trailers and commercials for The Accountant marketed it as an action/thriller. However, it falls more of under the character-drama with action set-pieces genre. Viewers who were expecting to come and see tons of action will probably be disappointed by what The Accountant has to offer; yet, other moviegoers who go in with a clear mind may find enjoyment with The Accountant. It all depends on your tastes.
Overall, The Accountant displays enough interesting moments and engaging drama to get by, but falters when trying to present a coherent plot.
Rating: 3.2 out of 5
- First Accountant image: Twitter
- Second Accountant image: Rotten Tomatoes
- Third Accountant image: The Movie Blog