Much like his good friend Matt Damon, I always found Ben Affleck to be a strange person to be an action star. However much like Matt Damon, Affleck has been a surprising effective action star. “The Town”; “Batman vs Superman”; and now Affleck did it again in “The Accountant”.
The film has Affleck as Christian Wolff, a mathematical genius who works mainly as a forensic accountant for dangerous criminal organizations that are experiencing internal embezzlement. Such work got the attention of the U.S Treasury Department whose director, Raymond King (J. K. Simmons) want to catch Wolff before his retirement.
However all the Treasury Department knows of Wolff is that he is good, and that his alias is "The Accountant”. With little to nothing to go on, King blackmail young Treasury analyst Marybeth Medina (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) to help him identify and arrest the “Accountant”. With the heat on, Wolff was advised by his friend "The Voice" to lay low and take a non-criminal account.
The case is auditing the books of robotics corporation Living Robotics, whose in-house accountant, Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick), found suspicious financial discrepancies. The company's CEO, Lamar Blackburn (John Lithgow) willingly cooperates with Wolff's investigation while believing Dana's findings to be a mistake. Wolff discovers that $61 million dollars has been embezzled from the company. From there, Wolff finds his life in danger as an assassin (Jon Bernthal) target him for death and he find that Dana is also targeted by the assassination team.
Now I know the reviews of “The Accountant” have been decidedly mixed but I enjoyed it immensely. Ben Affleck is excellent in this movie, giving a committed performance that brought Wolff to life. Whether he was killing assassins or solving math problems, Wolff was a believable character.
In fact, I say the cast on the whole was excellent. Both Simmons and Bernthal made the most of their limited time on screen and Cynthia Addai-Robinson gave Medina the right mix of intelligence and desperate to make the character work. However the best part of the movie for me was the slightly sweet, off-beat feel of the movie.
This film has several complex things going on at the same time; pained social interactions, brutal intense action scene, complex math accounting problem; yet the movie does works! Director Gavin O'Connor works in the twists well and for an action film, the movie has some surprising emotional depth. I could see the connection between Wolff and his assassin a mile away but when it happened, the scene worked remarkably well. A lot of that has to do with the acting but the direction of the film also helps.
Having said all that, some things in the film did not work. The reviews of the film is mixed and while I don’t agree, I can see why that’s the case. Like I said earlier, the movie has many gears in play and you can argue that there was too much. The movie has a scattershot feel to it and fans who like their action movie to be focused on good guy- bad guy action will be disappointed with this film.
On the whole, I thought the movie to be excellent and I would highly recommend it. Much like “John Wick”, I have a feeling “The Accountant” will be a franchise. If that’s true, then I will be here for the sequel. It’s good.