BEN AFFLECK DELIVERS AN EXCEPTIONAL PERFORMANCE, EVEN IF THE MOVIE DOESN’T ENTIRELY LIVE UP TO ITS FULL POTENTIAL!
By Nico Beland
Movie Review: *** out of 4
WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Ben Affleck is The Accountant
From director, Gavin O’ Connor (Miracle, Pride and Glory, Warrior) comes an action thriller revolving around a man with autistic cognitive skills who is an accountant for criminal organizations. Judging by the trailers, I thought it looked very interesting and seeing how Gavin O’ Connor already won me over with his 2011 sports drama, Warrior, I don’t see how I could miss his latest film.
Hollywood has depicted people with many different kinds of disabilities in several different ways. There were classic films like My Left Foot and Children of a Lesser God to more comedic portrayals like Ben Stiller’s Simple Jack in Tropic Thunder (which depending on the person would either come off as really funny or extremely offensive), more recent portrayals like James McAvoy in Rory O’Shea Was Here (and technically the X-Men movies), and of course Oscar material like Leonardo DiCaprio in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape…enough said.
To follow in those films’ footsteps, we now have The Accountant, how does it hold up? It’s not bad, okay, it’s nothing great but I was invested throughout the film, it was intense, dramatic, and filled with amazing talent. Hot off his performance as the Caped Crusader, we have Ben Affleck (Argo, Gone Girl, DC Extended Universe) as The Accountant, and he does an amazing job with the performance, I was almost convinced he actually did have cognitive skills when I was watching him in the film.
The film follows Christian Wolff (Affleck), an autistic mathematics expert with more interest in numbers than people, who ever since he was a child, had unique cognitive skills that set him apart from other people. Christian grows up to be an accountant for dangerous criminal organizations and using a state-of-the-art robotics company as a cover.
With a Treasury agent named Ray King (J.K. Simmons-Spider-Man trilogy, Whiplash, Zootopia) hot on his trail and his financial consulting co-worker, Dana (Anna Kendrick-50/50, Pitch Perfect, Into the Woods) getting roped in to helping Christian stop a group of criminals out to kill her, he starts to uncover the truth about a discrepancy involving millions of dollars. Let the bodies hit the floor.
The film also stars Jon Bernthal (Fury, Daredevil, The Punisher) as Brax, Jean Smart (The Brady Bunch Movie, The Odd Couple II, Youth in Revolt) as Rita Blackburn, Jeffrey Tambor (The Larry Sanders Show, Hellboy, Arrested Development) as Francis Silverberg, John Lithgow (3rd Rock from the Sun, Shrek, Rise of the Planet of the Apes) as Lamar Black, and Cynthia Addai-Robinson (Law and Order, Spartacus, Arrow) as Marybeth Medina.
Overall, The Accountant is a decent thriller, I find it very refreshing to see a character who has a disability kick a lot of ass, and Affleck was a perfect choice for the role. What’s also interesting about my full thoughts on the movie is I was, believe it or not, more interested in seeing Ben Affleck calculating his problems in his office more than the action scenes, and I like how they made him a really smart man.
Not to say the action is bad, no, it’s good stuff, lots of blood, gunshot wounds, death, and beatings galore. But it doesn’t overshadow the story, because I like intense movies that aren’t intense just for the sake of being intense, but rather intense films with an engaging story that makes you care for the characters involved in the harsh situations.
I cared for Affleck as The Accountant a lot more than I did when he played Batman in the DC Universe, because they gave him other feelings besides pissed out his mind, I wanted Anna Kendrick to live and for them both to succeed in their mission. What may surpass Ben Affleck’s performance in this movie is the performance of his character as a child, I don’t know who they got to play him but oh my god, the kid Affleck is incredible, I was very convinced by the way he acts in the film, and I hope he goes places.
As a whole, I thought the movie was solid, though I did have some problems with it, one is we don’t know much about Jon Bernthal’s character and how he got involved in the whole situation, I would have liked to see more of a backstory of his character, there was a backstory but it was mostly geared towards Affleck, which makes sense, but I would have liked more of Bernthal’s story. I was also confused when Affleck was blasting rock music, with a flashing light, and forcefully rubbing a pipe on his leg in his bedroom, it’s not bad or anything but it just threw me off and left me confused.
Those are my only real issues with the movie, thankfully they’re not that distracting and it doesn’t stop the enjoyment of the film. It’s a great movie if you’re looking for a refreshing action film with strong characters and thrills.
It’s intense but also very inspiring, whether you have a disability or have had experiences with people who do, this might be a movie you could relate to. It may even change someone’s perspective who encounters another person who looks and acts differently from you.
It’s a visit with The Accountant that’s totally worth it.