Friday, October 14, 2016

Movie Review: “The Accountant”

The Accountant

**** 1/2
128 minutes
Rated R for strong violence and language throughout
Warner Bros. Pictures

Article first published at

I love a good black comedy. There have been many good and bad over the years, but when done right, they rank right up there as some of my all-time faves. Very Bad Things, Grosse Point Blank, and Death Becomes Her are probably my top three, in no particular order. And now, director Gavin O’Connor’s (Miracle, Warrior) can add his latest Ben Affleck action thriller, The Accountant to the list. A mixture of razor-sharp comedy, and punchy action beats, audiences have no idea what’s in store here. Utilizing a fantastic ensemble, The Accountant is one of my favorite films of the year.

Our titular accountant, Christian Wolff (Affleck), is a quiet, introverted, small town CPA who just so happens to have autism. As a child, Christian’s parents (Robert C. Treveiler and Mary Kraft) have tried everything to help him lead a normal life. After Christian’s mother leaves, his father takes him on an escalating path of self defense with some brutal Jakarta lessons along the way. In the present, Treasury agent Ray King (J.K. Simmons) has tasked Marybeth Medina (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) with finding out who the accountant is behind some of the most notorious gangster across the globe.

Meanwhile, bruiser Brax (Jon Bernthal) is hot on Christian’s tail after he takes on a new client in robotics mogul Lamar Black (John Lithgow). But as Christian gets closer to the truth, the body count starts to rise, along with his morals as he makes an emotional decision to help keep Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick) — one of Black’s employees who discovered the trail of missing money — safe.

The less said about the plot the better, it’s surprising how little was actually just divulged. Thankfully, O’Connor keeps Bill Dubuque’s (The Judge) screenplay zipping along at a breakneck pace. The film rarely lags, aside from getting minorly sidetracked with a subplot involving King and the backstory as to why he’s so interested in Christian. The biggest surprise is how funny the film is. Affleck nails his one-liners, keeping them perfectly natural and always hilarious. Some of the biggest laughs come late in the film, but a sense of humor always goes a long way when it comes to action.

Sure, there are a few plot holes, and it could have been squeezed down to a tighter runtime. But, The Accountant gives most action films a run for their money. The action scenes may be more of the small burst variety, but when they hit, they hit hard. And a few are bound to leave audiences’ jaws dropped. It’s also pretty brutal and unflinching. The cast all work fantastic together — even if Medina is a stock throwaway character — but every film needs a pawn, right? The bottom line is, The Accountant is one of the best action films of the year, and the most fun you can have in theaters right now.

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