The Accountant – Gavin O’Connor

The Accountant starring Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, and J.K. Simmons. Photo Credit: Chuck Zlotnick/Warner Bros

The Accountant starring Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, and J.K. Simmons.
Photo Credit: Chuck Zlotnick/Warner Bros

Director Gavin O’Connor doesn’t have very much to boast about in terms of past films, only 2011’s Warrior can give any sort of indication that he knows what he’s doing – and not many people saw that one – so despite the last minute marketing effort, the expectations for The Accountant were set pretty low. It could go either way, the movie could either be heavily character driven and not nearly as exciting as the previews indicated (like O’Connor’s Pride and Glory), or it could be a standard action-thriller with all the right moves. As it turns out, The Accountant was neither. The action sequences are fast-paced, satisfying, and deadly and the character development is intriguing, dramatic, and tasteful. The successful fusion of both of these genres is what makes the movie interesting and widely appealing.

Ben Affleck stars as the main character Christian Wolff, known to the U.S. Treasury Department as “the accountant”, among other aliases. He is a mathematics savant with autistic tendencies who has used his exceptional skills to provide accounting services to the criminal underworld for years, while managing to stay alive between jobs. As expected, he has his unique quirks and his ability to understand social cues is virtually non-existent, but his neurodevelopment disorder is never ridiculed or used as the brunt of the joke in The Accountant. Some scenes and exchanges are amusing, but the general “handling” of the condition (as well as its diagnosis) is in no way offensive. Christian’s other impressive skill, explained in a series of childhood flashbacks, is that he is a killing machine; of course, he only puts this to good use when the situation calls for it and when it appeals to his moral code.

When Christian takes on what is thought to be a low-key job investigating some missing money at a robotics company, things start to unravel. Both he and a fellow accountant Dana (Anna Kendrick) find themselves in a situation that calls for him to mostly use his secondary set of skills. Anna Kendrick is delightfully awkward as always and manages to compliment the mostly stoic Affleck. The plot (or plots) is a bit of a mess at times, but the conclusion mostly makes up for any mistakes along the 128-minute pathway.

The supporting cast is quite good, with John Lithgow (Interstellar) as the head of the robotics firm, J.K Simmons (Whiplash) and Cynthia Addai-Robinson as the treasury agents hot on Christian’s trail, Jon Bernthal (Sicario) as deadly hitman, and finally Jeffrey Tambor in a small role as a fellow inmate.

Critics haven’t been very impressed with The Accountant since its release on October 14, 2016, but audiences have generally found it entertaining and worth watching. It’s not your everyday garden variety action film, nor is it a boring piece solely focused on character development. While it won’t win any awards or be remembered for years to come, it takes the good parts from each genre and manages to win you over in the end.

The Accountant was a solid #1 hit in its opening weekend, bringing in over $24M domestically (U.S.A).

Watch the official trailer here:

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Gone Girl – David Fincher

Gone Girl starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike

Gone Girl starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike

How well do you know your spouse? That is the question that forms the premise of Gone Girl, David Fincher’s latest masterpiece that stars Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike as “Nick” and “Amy”, a couple struggling through their marriage as the movie begins on the morning of their 5th Anniversary. It is on this day that Amy disappears and Nick is suddenly thrown into a tumultuous investigation where he is the prime suspect. It begins slowly, with a lot of questions and clues, and progressively ramps up until it grabs a hold of you and doesn’t let go.

This is not the first glowing review for Gone Girl, nor will it be the last. It’s an odd mix of thriller, mystery, and drama with enough giggle-worthy dialogue thrown into it to make it truly unique. It is gripping from the very beginning and hangs on to your attention until the credits roll. Gone Girl‘s running time is 2 hours and 29 minutes but it never feels forced or dragged out. In fact, the only disappointment was that it ended at all.

Aside from Affleck, who is perfect in his role of the lost husband making all the wrong moves in the ensuing media storm, the cast of females in the film is what gives it it’s punch. Rosamund Pike is truly amazing, and saying anything else beyond that would be giving too much away (it is a film that relies on suspense and genuine shock, so providing any more details in a review would be a disservice). Supporting actress Carrie Coon takes on the role as the bold, tell-it-like-it-is twin sister “Margo” and Kim Dickens is the bright lead detective assigned to the case. Both are very compelling and often funny as “Nick” slowly pieces everything together surrounding his wife’s sudden disappearance.

The movie is based on a best selling novel of the same name by Gillian Flynn, and one can only imagine how good the book is based on the success and reception of the film so far. Given the detail in the movie, it’s hard to believe there could be more to the story that just didn’t make the cut.

The instant buzzing of discussion and the looks of pure astonishment and joy on the faces of the movie-goers once Gone Girl ended said it all. It’s still early, with Oscar season right around the corner, but this is easily the best movie of the year (so far).