film reel image

film reel image

Monday, October 17, 2016

The Accountant 2016 * * 1/2 Stars

The Accountant  Director: Gavin O'Connor
Year: 2016
Rated R
Rating: * * 1/2 Stars
Cast: Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, Jon Bernthal

In The Accountant (my latest review), Ben Affleck's Christian Wolfe is being pursued by Treasury agent Raymond King (played by J. K. Simmons). As the film concludes, there's an FBI news conference in which it appears that Wolfe's autistic money handler has been captured. Cut to the next scene and Wolfe is driving away in his truck with his trailer full of guns, money, passports, and artwork attached to it. Huh? Also, there's the side character of Wolfe's brother (Jon Bernthal as "Bax"). He's quiet as a church mouse in his younger years only to emerge as an adult hitman who spouts soliloquies and won't shut up. Yup, "Accountant" will leave you scratching your head as you walk out of the theater. A couple of critics have said that this film doesn't "add" up. Knee slapper. I'm gonna go the more original route and say that The Accountant is a "taxing" affair (taxing is the informal definition for murderous).

Image result for The accountant movie scenesAnyway, if you haven't already heard, "Accountant's" trailer is a tad misleading. This vehicle doesn't entirely delve into the art of managing economic entities. It's more a progressive actioner, a slightly violent shoot-'em-up. Ben Affleck in the lead, mumbles his lines, puffs on his fingers, and separates his food when he's not supplying his penchant for shooting people in the head. His Wolfe becomes the butt kicking antihero, the dude who cooks the books for some sinister, criminal organizations and then inversely shoots to kill. In jest, you kinda wonder if Affleck asked his best bud Matt Damon on how to channel his own, inner Jason Bourne. I sure did.

In terms of direction, well Gavin O'Connor (Warrior) creates a sleek look for The Accountant. What can I say, Atlanta, GA substitutes well for Plainfield, Illinois. This flick is also edited nicely despite a plot that contains a few dangling loose ends. O'Connor's strong points are the flashbacks he provides. They involve Christian Wolfe's childhood (Wolfe nervously works on puzzles, has conniption fits, and learns advanced martial arts) and one flashback in particular pertaining to the J. K. Simmons trouper (talk about an intense life or death moment). Finally, "Accountant" has a twist at the end that I didn't see coming. However, it doesn't really give the viewer much closure on everything that had previously happened. To quote a song from The Hollies, "he ain't heavy, he's my brother". That'll give you a hint.

Image result for The accountant movie scenesAll in all, The Accountant is sophisticated yet bemused filmmaking from a director who at one time, made a juicy, more straightforward crime drama with 2008's Pride and Glory. With "Accountant", I've seen a lot worse movies in October and I've seen a lot better ones too. As a spy thriller for the socially inexpert, it will pass the time. As a serious Oscar contender come January, it's more debit than credit. Rating: A mixed 2 and a half stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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