Review - 'The Accountant'
Got a problem with the books? Are the numbers not adding up? Are you also heading a dangerous criminal organization? Don't worry! Christian Wolff has your back! Despite being a preposterous and uneven film, Gavin O'Connor's The Accountant also manages to be a rollicking good time at the movies.
The Accountant follows Christian Wolff; an autistic accountant that levels the accounts for some of the most dangerous criminal organizations. On his latest job, he runs into Dana Cummings; the one who discovered the discrepancies in the books. After someone assassinates the CEO of the company Wolff has been hired to help, Chris and Dana discover there is more to the mystery.
This film was marketed as a straight-up drama with a side of action. What I got was pretty much an action movie with doses of drama here and there. This didn't bother me as I love a good action film and I was genuinely pleased that some pretty huge moments were left out of the trailers. However, anyone expecting exactly what the trailers were selling might be a little caught off-guard.
Ben Affleck turns in a very solid performance here, in fact, I'd say he's easily the best part about the film. Affleck plays the lead character, an autistic accountant named Christian Wolff and he never once slips out of character. I was also surprised by how funny Affleck's character was in this. He would make delightfully deadpan comments after just about every violent altercation. Anna Kendrick plays Dana Cummings, who meets with Wolff during his latest job. Kendrick also does a good job playing a woman who is able to see passed Wolff's seemingly dismissive exterior and form a rare bond with him. Jon Bernthal plays Wolff's potential adversary, Brax, who to me did not have the greatest lines and came off as a little over-the-top, save for a moment in the third act where he really starts acting his heart out. The rest of the cast is also pretty solid, featuring small but memorable turns from Cynthia Addai-Robinson, J.K. Simmons, Jeffrey Tambor and John Lithgow.
My main issues with the film lie with its confused narrative and sloppy ending that didn't really make much sense. The film asks you to root for a man who has helped out criminal organizations and literally murdered tons of people. Yes, most of the people he's killed have been bad people, but that's irrelevant. There's also a missed opportunity regarding a subplot that involves an agent named Medina who is tasked with tracking Wolff down. What we figure out later, though, is that her only real purpose boils down to giving exposition to how crafty this accountant guy is. This was a subplot that could have led to a tense stand-off but was left to fizzle out inconsequentially. This is basically what happens at the end of this film too, despite the action-heavy finale. There are resolutions that seemed too cut-and-dry and I felt like too many characters got to walk away from this ordeal unscathed.
Despite narrative inconsistencies, the action depicted throughout the film is well-staged and I doubt any of that red, syrupy fluid was left in the bucket by the end of the day's shoot. The editing in the film is also spot-on. From the action to the dialogue; everything seemed to flow well and there wasn't any fat that I would have cut. I did feel like the film lacked a distinctive look, though. There are a few visually-appealing moments and everything is filmed competently, but the movie is clearly more interested in telling its story than looking distinctively pretty.
The Accountant is an excellent vehicle for Ben Affleck's capabilities. That said, it doesn't deliver a consistent narrative and has a resolution that isn't satisfying because it doesn't take bigger risks with its characters. Overall, The Accountant is a fun action movie with good performances, but tells a story that is lacking in the end.