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The Accountant - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
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The Accountant
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Directing: B+
Acting: B+
Writing: B-
Cinematography: B+
Editing: B+



The best thing to do with The Accountant is, well, turn off your brain. It'll work, I promise! Just don't think about all the many things wrong with it, how deliriously preposterous it is, and you should have a great time. I'm actually not kidding. I had fun at this movie and I would recommend it. Well, to people who aren't movie snobs, anyway.

The thing is, flaws notwithstanding, this movie has a lot going for it. On the one hand, it's a fairly run-of-the-mill action thriller. On the other hand, it's filled with oversimplified and arguably misleading characterizations of high-functioning autism. But the two together, though, and you've got a surprisingly unique movie-going experience.

Ben Affleck sells it hard as Christian Wolff, the title character who also just happens to be a trained killer. He's the one who is on the spectrum -- maybe he has Asperger's, given the single flash of the word onscreen when a government analyst (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) is set upon tracking him down by her superior (J.K. Simmons). He is also superhumanly good at his job as an accountant, which he does for high-profile and/or dangerous clients the world over. Affleck might be the only guy who can make being a CPA look like a sexy job. He just needs an arsenal of high-powered weaponry.

J.K. Simmons is given the rather unfortunate third-act task of an extended monologue that also serves to spoon-feed us an insane amount of exposition. This is meant to be one of its many plot twists, some of which work well and some of which don't. There are times when The Accountant trips over its own narrative tracks. This would include the pre-title sequence that opens the film, where we follow a man pursuing the sounds of gunshot murders inside a building. The camera shows only his lower legs, and the scene plays out with such clichéd tone and visuals that I found myself thinking, What the hell -- this is not a good start.

But then we meet Christian, and his OCD-lite idiosyncrasies. We also meet his brother, who circles around to work his way into the plot again much later, in one of the movie's less satisfying twists. When Christian is hired by a huge prosthetics company (run by John Lithgow) to look into some accounting discrepancies, he meets the young woman who first noticed the inconsistent numbers: this is Anna Kendrick, who turns out to be maybe the brightest, most charming thing about this movie. I'm not sure she has a great amount of chemistry with Affleck, but then, that's sort of the point -- Christian is socially awkward and has difficulty connecting.

We are clearly meant to see potential romance between these two, and the story takes their relationship in an unexpected direction. In fact -- spoiler alert! -- although there's plenty of violence in this movie, there's no sex. In the context of this specific relationship, this is an element that actually elevates the story. And this is a story that can use some elevation. You just don't realize that unless you really think about it. Don't think about it!

The violence, by the way, is used more sparingly than you might expect, but to great effect when it's actually happening. When Kendrick's Dana Cummings is first put in jeopardy, I loved that she did not play the part of damsel in distress. Dana is resourceful and quick-thinking, and can make good use of a stove burner grate. She's strong and she's super smart. Okay, so in the end Christian is both stronger and smarter. I did make it immediately clear that this movie isn't perfect.

It isn't garbage either, though. The Accountant is satisfyingly singular entertainment. It has well-executed action that's never overplayed and it has just enough humor to provide some levity. This is a movie that, while sometimes skimming close to insulting your intelligence, still provides all that you expect from it.

en Affleck takes 'being on the spectrum' in ridiculous -- but fun -- directions in THE ACCOUNTANT.

Exciting stuff!


Overall: B+
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