Review by Gordon Justesen
Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons, Jon Bernthal, Jeffrey Tambor, John Lithgow
Director: Gavin O’Connor
Audio: DTS HD 7.1, DTS HD 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.40:1
Studio: Warner Bros.
Features: See Review
Length: 128 Minutes
Release Date: January 10, 2017
“I like incongruity.”
Going into The Accountant, I was expecting something along the lines of a most original, character based action thriller. And indeed, that is what’s provided for about 50 to 60% of the film. Unfortunately, what keeps it from being the powerhouse piece it could have been is a slight jumbling of plot threads and a finish that just leaves one’s head scratching.
Anchoring everything is Ben Affleck in a terrifically nuanced performance. He plays Christian Wolff, the “accountant” in question. He is autistic, a quiet loner, but incredibly great with numbers.
In addition to his daily work of taxes and business bookkeeping, Christian also launders money for unsavory organizations. In his youth, he was given an unconventional method of dealing with his condition by training to fight and eventually kill in pure ninja mode. You could say he’s a mixture of Jason Bourne and Will Hunting, as if Affleck is smirking at his old pal Matt Damon in the process.
His moonlighting gig has attracted the attention of Treasury Department head Ray King (J.K. Simmons). He’s been tracking Christian for some time, but never been able to put a face on the shadowy figure. Ray employs the service of agent Marybeth Medina (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) to assist in the tracking down of the mystery man.
Christian’s latest job involves that of a robotics industry led by one Lamar Blackburn (John Lithgow). It seems that an accountant within the company has discovered some discrepancies, and Christian is brought in to trace the source of the multi-million dollar leak. That accountant is Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick), who Christian develops a fond connection to, which is something he has never had a chance to experience.
As fate would have it, there are forces who aren’t happy with someone investigating the company’s books, and soon both Christian and Dana become embroiled in a cat and mouse pursuit. This leads to Christian showcasing the array of deadly skills he was trained in his youth on those chasing him. The action beats in the film are extremely impressive, to say the least.
However, all of the intrigue that is established is undermined by a finale that is questionably handled. Without giving any details away, it involves a plot revelation that will be all too obvious even for those who’ve never seen a Usual Suspects or a Fight Club. This is one of the few times where I felt a movie would have been much better off with a traditional thriller ending instead of attempting to be a wee bit clever.
The Accountant is hardly a bad film. In fact, it’s an incredibly well made one with a central character that is whole heartedly unique, and we get some superb work from Affleck, J.K. Simmons and John Lithgow. The great parts of the film are slightly undone by the inclusion of several unnecessary supporting characters and a finish that just throws everything off base.
This Blu-ray offering from Warner provides a superb presentation of a movie that isn’t super flashy. The cinematography is purposely muted and mostly consisting of a near dark, grey-ish tone. But as it stands, the picture quality is most sharp and incredibly well detailed, and there is never a dull moment in the proceedings. The look of the robotic firm offices is especially effective
It’s not every day you see a Blu-ray release that includes a 7.1 and a 5.1 DTS mix, but Warner has included both on this Blu-ray. Dialogue delivery is handled with top notch results, and the action bits play off exceedingly well. One sequence where our lead character fires off a 50 caliber gun to off some baddies may have you ducking for cover!
Included on this Blu-ray release from Warner are three featurettes; “Inside the Man”, which focuses on Affleck’s character, “Behavioral Science”, which takes a look at the realities of autism and “The Accountant in Action”, which focuses on the film’s action and stunt work.
Perhaps it was a case of going in with such high expectations, and while The Accountant is partially a solid entertainment, several changes with the script could have resulted in one of the truly best movies of the year. Again, not a bad film...but could have been so much more.