‘The Accountant’ Review

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Director: Gavin O’Connor

Writer: Bill Dubuque

Cast: Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Jon Bernthal, John Lithgow, and Jeffrey Tambor

Synopsis: As a math savant uncooks the books for a new client, the Treasury Department closes in on his activities and the body count starts to rise.

 

*Reviewer Note: This will be a spoiler free review.*

 

It seems like Hollywood likes giving older actors today their own action thrillers. Liam Neeson had his with Taken, and that seemed to start the trend, and while some of them work, The Accountant is its own animal, and while a lot of the film works, it falls into some, unexpected, pitfalls that makes the film not completely what you were expecting.

The Accountant follows Christian Wolff (Affleck), a small-town CPA with a form of high-functioning autism that makes him, you can say, socially awkward around others. He helps people with their taxes during the day, but at night, he works with shady organizations, gangsters and the cartels. His actions put him on the crosshairs of Treasury Department and Director Raymond King (Simmons), who brings in an analyst Marybeth Medina (Addai-Robinson) to try and find Wolff – who is “in” pictures they have, but don’t show his face.

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During all this, Wolff takes on a new client, a robotics firm, by Lamar Black (Lithgow), who says there is missing money that was found by an accountant in Dana Cummings (Kendrick). Wolff, being excellent in his job, finds out what’s wrong but subsequently puts Dana in danger and is forced to solve the mystery and going up against killers, all lead by a mysterious Braxton (Bernthal).

The Accountant rests of the shoulders of Ben Affleck, and has been shown in the past he is up to the challenge. When the film focuses on Wolff, and the flashbacks as a child with his father played by Robert C. Treveiler, is when the film works. Seeing what Christian goes through as a child and the way his father dealt with his condition flows nicely throughout the film. The other thing that works in the film is when we actually see Christian doing his day job. It surprising to see an action thriller actually make math and accounting look fun, and seeing Christian, and even Dana at one point, being enthusiastic after what he discovers on the first day was fun to watch.

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The film doesn’t go fully into Christian’s autism, and it may not be a full representation of it, but Affleck does bring a likeability and even sympathy to the character. The autism isn’t a disadvantage for him, and even when he’s killing people, it isn’t a way for him to cope – he has his own way of doing so – he does it because it’s part of his job. It a hard trait to pull that off, but Affleck does it well.

The rest of the cast handles themselves well. You would think Anna Kendrick would stick out, and while she does a bit, she hangs in there with Affleck, although her role isn’t as big as you would think. J.K. Simmons is reliable as always, and shares most to all of his screen time with Cynthia Addai-Robinson’s Medina, who does a pretty good job of hunting down Wolff on her own. Jon Bernthal, also always reliable as ever, seems to have fun playing a ruthless killer, although it would have been nice to see more of him in the film. Jeffrey Tambor and John Lithgow have small roles in the film, with Tambor getting really a glorified cameo.

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While the film works on a lot of levels, The Accountant does loses some steam when it takes on a massive exposition dump right before the third act. I won’t go into details about what the scene is about since it delves in spoiler territory, but the scene only works on some levels, and felt like shoehorned in scene that they put in so they make this a potential franchise. I’m not complaining too much, because it would be cool to see Affleck return as this character and go back to this world, but the scene itself – again, only working on some levels – felt a bit shoehorned.

Finally, there are a couple of unexpected revolutions in the film, and maybe some will see coming before they are revealed, or at least you’ll ask the question. The reveal does just kind of happening, and it never fully resolves itself, but again, if they go with a sequel it should be interesting to see how it goes.

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All in all, The Accountant is a worthwhile action thriller that sees Affleck tackling something a little different, and doing a great job at it. The film doesn’t seem like it has a lot going on, and it takes a while for things to really pick up, but when it finally does, The Accountant is a solid action thriller that could lend itself to a sequel.

The Accountant

4 out of 5

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Let me know what your favorite news item, trailer and or overall impression of the week that was movie news.

October Movie Releases

It is October ladies and gentleman!

This month looks pretty great and, yet again, some early Oscar nominations could come out. Of course, let’s not forget that it is the month of Halloween, so there are some potentially great horror films out this month. But let’s stop talking about them and actually get to them!

Also, Happy Early Halloween!

 

7th

 

Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life (Comedy – Lionsgate/Participant Media/CBS Films)

Imaginative quiet teenager Rafe Katchadorian (Griffin Gluck) is tired of his middle school’s obsession with the rules at the expense of any and all creativity. Desperate to shake things up, Rafe and his best friends have come up with a plan: break every single rule in the school and let the students run wild. The film also stars Laruen Graham, Isabela Moner, Adam Pally, Thomas Barbusca, Efren Ramirez and Andrew Daly. The film isn’t really targeted toward me, but I’m sure if I was younger this would be up my alley.

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The Girl on the Train (Mystery Drama Thriller – Universal Pictures/DreamWorks/Amblin Entertainment/Reliance Entertainment/Marc Platt Productions)

Based on the best-selling book of the same name, The Girl on the Train follows the story of Rachel (Emily Blunt), who goes on a train to London. She witnesses the “perfect” couple: Scott (Luke Evans) and Megan (Haley Bennett). But one day, havoc ensues and Rachel becomes involved in their drama and mystery of Megan. I’ve read the book and I can’t wait to see how they bring this to the big screen. Edgar Ramirez, Justin Theroux, Lisa Kurdow, and Allison Janney also star.

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The Birth of a Nation (Historical Drama – Fox Searchlight Pictures/Mandalay Pictures/Bron Studios/Phantom Four/Ting Giant Entertainment)

This film has been making a lot of waves at film festivals and is even considered an Oscar hopeful and favorite. However, recent things have come to light about Nate Parker that may hinder some of the film’s success, but only time will tell. The film follows Nat Turner (played by Nate Parker, who also wrote and directed the film), a former slave in America, who leads a liberation movement in 1831 to free African-Americas in Virginia that results in a violent retaliation from whites. The rest of casts includes Penelope Ann Miller, Aunjanue Ellis, Katie Garfield, Colman Domingo, Armie Hammer, Gabrielle Union, Aja Naomi King and Jackie Earle Haley.

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11th

Limited/Short Release: Shin Godzilla/Godzilla Resurgence

The Toho Godzilla is back! The film will be getting a limited and short run here in the States from the 11th to the 18th. So if you want to see the “official Godzilla” on the big screen, here’s your chance.

 

14th

Limited Release: Certain Women

Based on the short stories on Maile Meloy, the lives of three women (Laura Dern, Michelle Williams and Kristen Stewart) intersect in small-town America, where each is imperfectly blazing a trail. The film also stars Rene Auberjonois, James Le Gros, and Jared Harris.

 

Limited Release: Christine 

The film is based on the true story of 1970s TV reporter Christine Chubbuck, which will be played by Rebecca Hall. I assume many of you will assume what happens in the film based on the trailer or will look it up, but the story of Chubbuck is something I can’t believe I haven’t heard of. The film has a very impressive cast of Michael C. Hall, Tracy Letts, Timothy Simons, J. Smith-Cameron, Maria Dizzia and John Cullum.

 

Limited Release: Desierto 

A group of people trying to cross the border from Mexico into the United States encounter a man who has taken up border patrol duties in his own racist hands. The film looks like a strong and powerful film and has strong leads in Gael Garcia Bernal and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Not only that, the film is being done by the Cuaron father-son duo, Alfonso Cuaron – the director of Gravity – is producing, while his son Jonas Cuaron is directing. Desierto also stars Alondra Hidalgo, Diego Catano, Marco Perez, Oscar Flores and David Lorenzo.

 

Kevin Hart: What Now? (Concert – Universal Pictures)

Another Kevin Hart live concert film, this time from the Philadelphia outdoor venue, Lincoln Financial Field.

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Max Steel (Sci-Fi Action Adventure – Open Road Films/Dolphin Entertainment/Mattel Entertainment/Playground Productions/Ingenious Media)

The adventures of teenager Max McGrath (Ben Winchell) and alien companion Steel (voiced by Josh Brener), who must harness and combine their tremendous new powers to evolve into the turbo-charged superhero Max Steel. The movie has been in the works for a handful of years now, and was even set to be released last year, but got pushed back because it wasn’t ready yet. Now, Max Steel is going to have to kick in it’s marketing into overdrive since the release date was just set in the middle of September, but I’m sure it will probably find it’s audience. The film also stars Maria Bello, Andy Garcia, Ana Villafane, and Mike Doyle.

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The Accountant (Drama – Warner Bros./Electric City Entertainment/Zero Gravity Management)

A forensic accountant (Ben Affleck) un-cooks the books for illicit clients. Directed by Gavin O’Connor, The Accountant stars a star studded cast that also includes Anna Kendrick, Jon Bernthal, J.K. Simmons, Jeffrey Tambor, John Lithgow. The film looks rather good – I say like I had anything to do with it – but seeing Affleck playing a badass with a cast like this around him? Nothing wrong with that, right?

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21st

Limited Release: American Pastoral

Ewan McGregor stars and makes his solo directorial debut that is based off Philip Roth’s novel that is set in postwar America, where a man watches his seemingly perfect life fall apart as his daughter’s new political affiliation threatens to destroy their family. The film also stars Jennifer Connelly, Dakota Fanning, Uzo Aduba, Molly Parker, Rupert Evans, Valorie Curry, and David Strathairn.

 

Limited Release: The Handmaiden

Directed by Chan-wook Park (Oldboy, Thirst, Stoker), a woman is hired as a handmaiden to a Japanese heiress, but secretly she is involved in a plot to defraud her.

 

Limited Release: In a Valley of Violence

Directed by Ti West (The House of the Devil, The Innkeepers), a mysterious stranger (Ethan Hawke) and a random act of violence drag a town of misfits and nitwits into the bloody crosshairs of revenge. The film looks like an interesting blend of genres with Western and comedy. The film also stars John Travolta, Karen Gillan, James Ransone, Taissa Farmiga, and Burn Gorman.

 

Boo! A Madea Halloween (Lionsgate/The Tyler Perry Company)

Tyler Perry brings one of his biggest and most beloved characters in Madea to life again in this horror comedy that sees Madea fighting off the supernatural on Halloween as she tries to keep a group of misbehaving teens safe.

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I’m Not Ashamed (Drama – Pure Flix Entertainment/All Entertainment/Visible Pictures)

Based on the inspiring and powerful true story and journal entries of Rachel Joy Scott (Masey McLain) – the first student killed in the Columbine High School shooting in 1999. I don’t know how people will react to this film, but I’m sure there is an audience. The cast is filled with unknown actors and actresses.

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Ouija: Origin of Evil (Horror – Universal Pictures/Blumhouse Productions/Platinum Dunes/Hasbro/Allspark Pictures)

A prequel to the film that came out in 2014, this film set in 1967 L.A, a widowed mother (Elizabeth Reaser) and her two daughters (Lulu Wilson and Annlise Basso) add a new stunt to bolster their séance scam business and unwittingly invite authentic evil into their home. When the youngest daughter is overtaken by a merciless spirit, the family confronts unthinkable fears to save her and send her possessor back to the other side. Ouija: Origin of Evil also stars Henry Thomas, Sam Anderson, Doug Jones, and Lin Shaye.

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Keeping Up with the Joneses (Action Comedy – 20th Century Fox/Parkes+MacDonald Image Nation)

A suburban couple (Zach Galifianakis and Isla Fisher) becomes embroiled in an international espionage plot when they discover that their seemingly perfect new neighbors (Jon Hamm and Gal Gadot) are government spies. I didn’t think much about this, but the trailers make it seem like it could be a fun watch. Keeping Up with the Joneses also stars Patton Oswalt, Matt Walsh, and Kevin Dunn.

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Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (Crime Drama – Paramount Pictures/Skydance Productions/TC Productions)

Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise) returns to the headquarters of his old unit, only to find out an old partner and friend (Cobie Smulders) is accused of espionage. I was surprised by the first Jack Reacher, and although I wasn’t screaming for a sequel, Never Go Back looks pretty damn good. Robert Knepper, Aldis Hodge, Patrick Heusinger, Holt McCallany, and Danika Yarosh also star.

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28th

Inferno (Mystery Thriller – Columbia Pictures/Imagine Entertainment)

Based on the continuing book series by Dan Brown, Ron Howard comes back to follows the adventures of Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks), who becomes a target of a manhunt and with the help of Dr. Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones) and his knowledge of symbology, Langdon has to solve a crime, while also trying to escape the manhunt. Inferno does look a little more action-centric than the past films, but Hanks and Howard seem to really enjoy doing these films, so more power to them.  The film also stars Ben Foster, Irrfan Khan, and Omar Sy.

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What are you looking forward to?