I’m a sucker for a good action/thriller; one that treads a little on the trashy side and feels like it could be based on a novel you would buy at the airport.
“The Accountant” is one of those movies, although it is wholly original; skipping the bookstands and coming direct from screenwriter Bill Dubuque (best known for writing “The Judge”).
The movie features a twisty plot, some decent character moments and some white-knuckle action. Given this pedigree, it’s really no surprise this movie would feature Jason Bourne’s bosom buddy Ben Affleck in the starring role.
Affleck stars as Christian Wolff, a mysterious, asocial accountant with a brilliant and clinical mind. Christian falls somewhere on the autism spectrum, but copes with the difficulties that come with his condition with discipline and a strict, if unconventional, moral code.
Christian uses his head for numbers to remain anonymous and cook the books for the world’s most powerful and dangerous individuals.
He always manages to stay one step ahead of his clients and the law, particularly Treasury director Raymond King (J.K. Simmons) and his dogged protégé Marybeth Medina (Cynthia Addai-Robinson).
Christian’s life is relatively orderly until he is called in to do some oversight auditing by a large company. It turns out several million dollars was found missing by mousy accountant Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick), who develops a sweet but awkward friendship with Christian.
When it turns out Dana’s discovery has put her life in danger, Christian springs into action with an efficiently lethal skillset that has helped him survive his clientele.
“The Accountant” is fun and thrilling, but director Gavin O’Connor takes time to explore familial themes he touched on in his affecting mixed-martial arts flick “Warrior,” as we get flashbacks to Christian’s, shall we say, unique upbringing.
While Kendrick and Affleck have a nice chemistry and both turn in fine performances, “The Accountant” is elevated by some terrific supporting performances. In addition to Simmons, Jeffrey Tambor drops in as a seasoned money launderer for the mob and Jean Smart and John Lithgow show up as corporate bigwigs with murky motives. Plus, Jon Berenthal gives a charmingly sinister performance as Braxton, a deadly gun-for-hire on a collision course with Christian.
In the end, this is a pure popcorn movie, although it does take some time to give a bit more than just passing lip-service to the challenges faced by those living with autism. “The Accountant” has its flaws, but the marketplace for action movies for adults has shrunk and, when an above-average one does show up, it is a banner day for fans of the genre like myself.
It’s unclear whether this will have the legs to turn into a franchise, but if it makes enough money, I certainly wouldn’t mind dropping in to see what’s new in the life of the toughest guy to ever wear a pocket protector.
“The Accountant” is rated R for strong violence and language throughout.
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