Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) is a math savant with more affinity for numbers than people. Behind the cover of a small-town CPA office, he works as a freelance accountant for some of the world’s most dangerous criminal organizations. With the Treasury Department’s Crime Enforcement Division, run by Ray King (J.K. Simmons), starting to close in, Christian takes on a legitimate client: a state-of-the-art robotics company where an accounting clerk (Anna Kendrick) has discovered a discrepancy involving millions of dollars. But as Christian uncooks the books and gets closer to the truth, it is the body count that starts to rise.
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Michael Ivey: This week we had two screenings – two! So Mike Fonseca is writing up Kevin Hart’s newest stand-up comedy movie, “What’s Next?”, and I’m reviewing “The Accountant”, starring Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick and J.K. Simmons.
I know, I know. Why would you even think about going to see a movie titled “The Accountant”? Sounds like a real snoozer, right? Nope. Not at all.
“The Accountant” is about a math savant who is hired by some of the most notorious criminals in the world to uncook their books. He discovers a ‘leak’ at a robotics firm when the Treasury Department, with his dangerous former clients, are moving in.
Ben Affleck is again on the A-list after a bevy of award-nominated/winning films. Affleck, playing the main role whose uncanny ability is due to his intelligence landing somewhere on the autism range. His performance is similar to “Argo”, where subtleness is required, comes across as both awkward and humorous.
There are no holes in this cast, with more than enough star power surrounding Affleck. Co-star Anna Kendrick plays the quirky whistleblower (and love interest) that initiates Affleck’s latest client, the robotics firm led by John Lithgow. On the hunt from the Treasury Department are J.K. Simmons and Cynthia Addai-Robinson, with Jon Bernthal lurking as the impending villain. Jeffrey Tambor provides an important role as the criminal mentor, with Robert Treveiler as Affleck’s father.
The real heart of this movie is provided by origin scenes of Affleck’s younger self (played by the talented Seth Lee) struggling with the effects of over stimulation and adapting to the misunderstanding public. They’re scattered throughout the film, providing clues to how someone with autism could become a karate-chopping, gun-wielding paper-pusher.
Well-placed humor (whether the director intended it or not) plays perfectly with the pauses in action – especially during the climax. Director Gavin O’Connor has wonderful pacing to match the casting of these characters. I don’t see many holes except for a couple of reveals that many audience members can see coming around the corner. I even had a woman next to me asking if her theories were correct (…sigh…).
Rating: I was pleasantly surprised by this action/crime drama and because of my low expectations, I’m giving this a 3.5 out of five stars. Sure, it has some of the same action-genre pitfalls that they all do, but if you’re looking for a John Wick/Jason Bourne-type of flick, you don’t have to look far.