‘The Accountant’ (2016) – 7/10


Last week, I watched ‘The Accountant’, the new film starring Ben Affleck. There are certain films starring Ben Affleck that I absolutely love, and this is one of them. I always thought that Affleck was an ok actor. I like him in ‘Shakespeare in Love’ (1998) (but more because I like the film), and I thought he was a good supporting actor in ‘Good Will Hunting’ (1997), but sadly overlooked him in most other films. Similarly, I thought that ‘Batman V Superman’ (2016) was an absolute waste of time. It was long, dull and for a superhero movie, was just not engaging. The only good part of the film was Jesse Eisenberg, who plays an amazingly weird, eccentric mastermind.

‘The Accountant’, on the other hand, was absolutely gripping. It had the right balance of action and intrigue. It was not until I had seen ‘The Town’ (2010) that I discovered what a truly wicked actor Affleck actually is. This is a film he wrote, directed and starred in, and is the film that first sparked my love for Affleck. I am a big fan of gangster films, so this Boston-based, bank robber film was a huge hit. It was gritty and intense, and just worked. ‘The Accountant’ (written by Bill Dubuque and directed by Gavin O’Connor), definitely had elements of this, which Affleck brought to the role.

‘The Accountant’ is a film about Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck), a high-functioning autistic accountant, who is able to uncook books for multiple high paying (and in most cases dangerous) clients. At the beginning of the film, he is hired to audit a state-of-the-arts robotics corporation called Living Robotics, whose accountant called Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick) has found a fault in their books. Simultaneously, Wolff is being pursued by Ray King  (J.K. Simmons), a  director of financial crimes within the Treasury Department, who has been after ‘The Accountant’ (a mysterious figure who has numerous dealings with the underworld in America), and blackmails Marybeth Medina (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) to help locate him.

I love that this is a action-thriller hybrid. I liked the succinct action scenes (which reminded me of the way that the ‘Jason Borne’ films’ fight scenes are choreographed), and the fact that the moments of suspense were diluted with tongue in cheek humour. I also liked that some parts of the film were edited in a stark, clean cut way, which symbolised how despite his desire, Wolff was unable to truly connect with people around him. This editing beautifully accompanied Mark Isham’s soundtrack – which worked splendidly with this film.
My only fault with the film was that some of the flash backs were a little excessive. I appreciated the personal flashbacks to how Christian Wolff was able to battle his social obstacles with regards to dealing with his autism in the wider world. At the beginning of the film, Wolff is given the opportunity to work at Harbor Neuroscience Institute, which his father (who is in the military) objects to, and instead tells him to face everything which makes him uncomfortable (as the ‘real world’ will not always accommodate certain requirements), and ultimately enables him to be a highly functioning autistic (which few people are aware of at first glance). I am not sure I would adopt this approach, but liked how this was expressed in various flashbacks, all differing in style and the way they were portrayed. I also appreciated how certain parts of the film showed how Christian Wolff was a compassionate human being, despite not being able to express or fully empathise with people. This, again, was done artfully.
Nonetheless, other flashbacks could have been done in a more straight forward manner. This would have made the film flow a little better. For example, scenes which described why Wolff turned to crime could have been aligned differently, and almost merged, rather than teetering on one, then going to another, then going back to the same point. Nonetheless, at these times, where I was on the verge of being bored (at things having been unnecessarily repeated), an action scene came to satisfy my craving.
Therefore, ‘The Accountant’ is a must see film! Certain flashbacks could be skipped out and the ending was probably a bit cheesier than it ought to be (with a twist I won’t give away). Nonetheless, this nicely tied up the film, and probably could lead nicely on to another film (although I don’t think a sequel is necessary). I liked Anna Kendrick in this film (and usually don’t really like her in much), as I thought it was refreshing that she did not play a moody character, and instead plays someone that Wolff tries to connect with in a ditzy, endearing way. I have already said that I like Affleck, and I personally think that he plays this part really well. I also like J.K. Simmons (playing his usual man of stature). Overall a great film, and one I could and have watched again.

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