The Accountant (2016)
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What should you expect? It has flashes of John Wick action, but it most certainly isn't an all out action movie, however, it also isn't primarily a drama focusing on his autistic/accounting side of things; I felt they did a really good job of combining both elements into a movie that swings back and forth between the two.
I thought the acting was great all around; I found the plot solid and enjoyable.
Here is the bottom line: Yes, this movie is worth your money to see in the theater.
p.s. I'll be the first to admit I have no idea how autism really affects people and how accurate it is or is not portrayed in this movie; I saw this movie as nothing more than what it is: a fictional story to entertain.
I have always liked Ben Affleck and consider most of his harsh criticism unfair. He is a fine actor and it is in full display here as Christian Wolff, one of his aliases. We see from flashbacks to his childhood that his autism hindered his development but with a combination of a military father who taught him to fight his own battles and a clinic that treats those with a variety of disorders, he grew up to become a "high functioning" adult. And with his unusual talents with numbers became a highly effective Accountant.
His dark secret is that he often works for world-wide crime organizations and gets compensated very well. Although he has a house, very sparsely furnished, his real possession is a trailer he keeps inside a storage unit, it has most of his wealth, rare artworks, and his guns.
Christian takes no guff from anyone and when he goes after a person or a group is a very effective killer. Anna Kendrick as company Accountant Dana Cummings and J.K. Simmons as Tax agent Ray King, both get pulled into his world.
The topic is distasteful, a criminal Accountant who goes after bad people, judge, jury and executioner. But it is a very well made movie and the acting is top-notch.
It is always pleasant to go into a movie with no expectations, and this one delivered in spades.
Any story starts with... well a great story, and this is it, although somewhat predictable it's more a comforting predictable, a good guy wins story with enough great twists in it to keep the interest.
The cast here lifts the game, who knew Affleck had this in him, and supported by the ever sweet Kendrick (all be it with a kick-ass moment), and throw in favorites like Simmons (Terminator Genisys) and Addai-Robinson (Shooter), all playing their respective parts well.
The scene with Affleck's and Kendrick's characters having lunch showed great subtly in writing, directing and acting. A lot of dry and subtle humor throughout.
No overdone CGI either, just good clean action, regularly punctuating the plot, with the clean cinematography only adding to clinical nature of our lead character.
For the run-of-the-mill action flick, you shouldn't pass this one up.
Yet he's a brilliant accountant at the same time, thank you, autism: He has a savant's grasp of facts and numbers (think Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man) but a serious deficiency in the affective and communicative categories. Affleck plays him with a grasp of disaffection that is almost humorous, in fact is with some of his straight-arrow responses: "I don't guess," he says when queried if he had a hunch about the perpetrator of a fraud.
You see, he is hired by all kinds of wealthy and criminal business people and governments to uncook their books or whatever is necessary to discover fraud or put the books in order. These jobs lead to situations where he is wanted by bad guys or the IRS or whomever. Wolff's legitimate, current job for a robotics company is complicated enough for him to need several glass walls to write on (think Affleck's buddy Mark Damon in Good Will Hunting), taking in hours what would consume days for a host of professional accountants.
And so it goes according to the thriller formula that the bad guys will be on his trail, and he will be made vulnerable by a cute co-worker, Dana (Anna Kendrick), who has some of his math savvy and maybe a bit of sweet for him. The Accountant veers from formula because that romance is of the "chaste-and-from-afar" kind, almost but not quite at the kiss stage. It's pleasant not to be bothered by heavy sex when the complications are of the cerebral, themselves the core of pleasure in this brainy, but not too, action drama.
Unfortunately our autistic hero, trained by a merciless military father to defend himself because dad knew son would always be treated as different, slips into thriller stereotype, e.g. Christian puts down too many hired guns at one time, albeit in the service of a noble retaliation for a prison friend. Although the action is within the parameters of the genre, it here feels overdone given the cerebral contexts that otherwise provide plenty of thrills.
One of the joys of this film is to see Affleck show some acting chops; he may never be like Dustin Hoffman, but he's memorably stoic here, a long way from J.Lo and Gigli.
The direction of this seems rather simple, but as the story progresses, things become a bit too complicated, and maybe not for the better.
I understood the main story and what was happening. The subplot of the movie is what threw me off. I thought the secondary plot was a bit messy but yet still engaging.
The acting in this movie was excellent. I think Ben Affleck as Christan Wolff is the best character he's ever played. Affleck's performance is both engaging and mesmerizing. Everyone does their job here, but Affleck steals the show.
The violence feels ultra realistic. I love action movies, but none have felt as real as this in a long time. When The Accountant kills people, he kills people, and it's not pretty.
There's a lot of jump cutting that's present here. This movie constantly jumps from the past to the present without warning, but the transitions are fluid.
The execution of the story at times feels tedious due to its consistent jump cutting, multi-layered plot, and abundance of characters.
Each character gets their moment, and everyone plays a part, but it's the coincidence that brings them all together.
I think this movie is trying to be more than what it is, and it succeeds. The Accountant movie has a multi-layered engaging main plot about mental illness in young children and how they cope with their situations. The secondary plot is about The Accountant doing business with the wrong people. There's another plot to this movie with J.K Simmons and his story's compelling, but it lacks conviction.
Overall, I enjoyed this movie. The fight scenes and choreography were breathtaking. The main plot was engaging. Ben Affleck delivered the best performance of his career. Every actor played their part. This movie suffers from sensory overload, but regardless, I believe that it will stimulate not only intellectuals but white-knuckled action junkies as well. The main plot, Ben Affleck, and the violence is ferocious.
Final Grade: A-
Well we didn't backdoor the pentagon but just like the final song this film truly left something behind, a legacy.
This is how you make an action film, this is how you make a dramatic film, hell this is how you make a film, period. I cannot praise this film enough, it has everything you want; Superbly written layered characters that grow and evolve throughout the film, a strong, gripping, tense and highly entertaining storyline, highest quality acting and a thourougly satisfying ending.
Coming off 'The Town' I didn't think I'd see Ben play such a deep emotionally damaged but tough as nails character for a long time but this film truly brings out the best in Afflecks acting abilities.
Unlike the Muhammed Ali jigsaw puzzle this film takes its time to lay out all the pieces on the board, never missing a step in turning up the heat at just the right moments to keep you wanting more. It's like all the best moments from Taken, The Equalizer and John Wick rolled into one masterpiece of a film.
The hurt you feel for Christian Wolff and what he's had to endure makes you understand exactly why he lives the life he does. He's a survivor and a man seeking justice at all costs and damn does he deliver justice to the guilty.
What I loved was the characters never felt too over the top, they always felt real and true to who they were, which is difficult to do with people like Wolffs brother Brax and Anna Kendricks Dana but they were written perfectly and slotted into the story in just the right way to help Wolff grow and understand more about life outside his bubble.
He battled with his condition and succeeded and can solve even the most complex maths equations but you don't need to times 298,567 by 92 to realise this film is a masterpiece.10/10.
I had to go see it again, because I missed some nuances. When I saw it the second time, again the audience (a different group) applauded at the end. GREAT MOVIE!!!
I might see it a third time. Can't get too much of a good thing.
Yet this is only part of the story of Christian Wolff, as hinted in the puzzle-piece graphics of the film's brilliant trailer. One thing we get to know almost straight away is Wolff is somewhere on the spectrum. Asperger's, PDD, high-functioning autism; "I prefer not to put a label on things," says Jason Davis's neurologist character as young Chris (Lee) jostles in the background. Convenient; now we can assume Wolff's abilities to uncooked 15 years of books in a single afternoon, kill an assailant with a J. Crew bridle belt and find the works of Jackson Pollock stimulating are all functions of his un- categorized disorder.
Now in fairness to the film, Hollywood hasn't exactly had a stellar track record when it comes to giving autistic characters moments in the limelight, even when they're being portrayed with a modicum of sympathy or humanity. To give credit where credit is due, The Accountant does a good job differentiating between the attributes of Chris's disorder with the skills he has ascertained through years of tutelage from his roughneck father (Treveiler). As exploitative as the film could have been, I give props to writer Bill Dubuque for not making our entrenched protagonist an autism powered super assassin but rather a gifted assassin who also processes the world differently.
Yet the film also seems to want to add more to the soup adding layers of espionage thriller dramatics, murder mystery reveals and oddly familiar flashbacks which all seem to serve different masters. Much of the film diverts attention between Wolff and blackmailed Treasury analyst Marybeth Medina (Addai-Robinson) who is coaxed by Director King (Simmons) to find the mystery accountant. The buildup in itself is alright but the backlog of reveals and plot-twists culminates in one fifteen minute exposition drop that capsizes the film like throwing a brick at a miniature sailboat.
Meanwhile the mystery afoot in The Accountant involves Wolff's newest freelance job which has him investigating biomedical pioneer Lamar Black (Lithgow) and his company. While initially a mundane audit job, Wolff finds himself in a web of intrigue that ensnares the company's board of directors, a sinister security force and a salaried accountant (Kendrick) who first uncovered the can of worms.
Again, the mystery in itself could have worked if it lent itself more organically to the character. Unfortunately the unexpected Michael Clayton (2007) milieu only made me want to see Wolff's less legitimate work all the more. It'd be one thing if Wolff was a pedestrian CPA with Asperger's, who was suddenly thrust into a plot of corporate intrigue. Yet knowing that the man has a clientele that includes terrorists, drug cartels, the mob and a suspiciously quaint melon farmer, I kept expecting bigger fish to come swimming up.
Overall, The Accountant is a skillfully done semi-decent thriller that could have done infinitely better if it defined what it was early and kept its focus. Is it a cerebral mystery, a ballsy action flick, a family drama, a cautionary tale, a morality play, an excuse to commend Ben Affleck's range; certainly it can be all. But sadly it settles for being a knower of all and a master of none.
Ben Affleck, J.K. Simmons, Anna Kendrick, and John Lithgow. Just some of the great actors in this gem.
Mention that a movie has any one of those names and I will be interested in watching it. Put them all in the same movie and I will have no hesitation in watching it. In this case multiple times on repeat it is so good.
The one thing that gives me goosebumps every time I even think about this movie is the sense of honour the main character has, he will do anything for those he loves or he thinks deserves his protection. In my opinion this is all down to his father and the way he was brought up. Real genuine friends are hard to find and when you do find one you do everything to protect them.
The chemistry between Ben Affleck and Anna Kendrick is as clear as day and that was another thing that makes this movie so good for me.
This is a must watch movie, I highly recommend it.
The script is so well crafted this film should be used in writing classes. I guarantee you will not know what's coming, and after they hit you, they're going to hit you again, even better. Truly exceptional writing.
The acting is also exceptional. Anna Kendrick, J.K.Simmons, and Jon Bernthal really stand out, and for Bernthal it is a change of pace and he carries it off very well. Jeffrey Tambor, John Lithgow and Jean Smart do their usual good job.
You should see this film. I've rated nearly 5,000 films and only gave 87 a rating of "10". That's how good I think this film is.
"The Accountant" is an original and above average action film. The cast has great performances; the screenplay using flashbacks is intriguing since the very beginning and the plot point in the end is a great surprise to the audiences. The ratings indicates that viewers usually like this film that has elements for a good franchise. My vote is seven.
Title (Brazil): "O Contador" ("The Accountant")
Ben Affleck did very well on this movie. Other actors too. Well done production.
The action scenes were really well done and the Barrett .50 sound is amazing. I love that weapon.
Story line :
the story is about a mental calculator who works as forensic accountant tracking insider financial deception for numerous criminal enterprises brought to him by an unknown women voice on his phone.
to me this was by far one of the best films that were released last year, it is not an Oscar film but it is a good one with great acting performance from Ben Affleck, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, J.K. Simmons and Anna kendrick.
Affleck's performance here's one of his best next to his amazing role in Gone Girl 2014 (which i highly recommend you to watch), he really brought to the character everything and show to us how people with autism live.
the action scenes are the soul of the film, i enjoyed them very much especially ben's head shots they were very funny and enjoyable and his fighting skills were really amazing( i just which they had put a little more action to this film, but i guess due to the flashback scenes and the difficult story it would have become too difficult to focus.
As for the brother role it was OK in the flash back but when it came to present time it was a little bit bad and the reason of it is choosing an actor who is totally different in race and physic and i just kept looking at him wondering what the hell they were thinking when they chose him to play the role (even his body figure was totally different from the child's body!) for me that was the only bad thing in this film.
Final rate :
8 out of 10
Christian Wolfe (Affleck) is a brilliant numbers guy who has cooked the books for some heavy hitters throughout the world. He has become enormously wealthy (Renoir and a Pollock adorn his Airstream) but all the money in the world cannot normalize his ability to communicate with humans. With the Treasury Department chasing him for evasion he takes on a legitimate payday with a Fortune 500 like company but they are knee deep in a multi-million dollar skimming scheme and Christian has to revert to his other specialties to win the day.
As Terminator with a CPA, Affleck's wooden Wolfe lacks the Austrian accent but remains Arnold like in an All-American way. Besides being brilliant around spread sheets he is also a superb shot with all types of weapons as well as a karate kid, not bad for a child with a handicap.
The most amazing thing about Christian though is his ability to hide in plain sight while he wipes out poorly shaven baddies with computer game efficiency while Treasury agents sit around and wax nostalgic about their imperfect pasts.
Director Gavin O'Connor directs with a heavy hand as scenes sink into bathos, his entire cast, save for when there is action, looking fatigued. Building his story like a sloppy sandwich you won't be able to fit into your mouth with banal subplots he attempts to give the film an emotional pull through flashback but the story stretches credulity constantly while the abysmal climax of discovery and gore is so dreadfully paced, the surprises along the way anything but, While it does have its books in order for a sequel the Accountant, nevertheless, goes bankrupt in no time.
Ben Affleck as an Autistic accountant who helps "un-cook the books" of some nefarious fellows - no problem.
That same Autistic accountant who also is deadly trained in martial arts and weapons - no problem (though it does stretch credibility almost to the breaking point).
But when THE ACCOUNTANT went into a giant corporation and uncovered a major siphoning off of funds with the skills and accounting acumen that an Accounting neophyte like I could have uncovered, I threw the flag. These bigwigs would have been busted almost immediately, and not "suddenly uncovered" 15 years later!
Put that aside and THE ACCOUNTANT is an above-average action film with an interesting plot (and subplots) that suffers from a lack of focus that can be distracting at times, but - ultimately - succeeds despite these failures.
Let's start with the performances and the actors in the 4 main lead roles. All well cast with very good actors - in some cases too good - which is part of this film's strength, and it's weakness.
Up front, of course, is Affleck's turn as the titular ACCOUNTANT. He is very good in this role and despite his character's lack of emotion, he portrays quite a bit through look, gesture and silence and you are drawn to this character. He is ably abetted by the great JK Simmons as the Treasury agent hot on his trail. At first, it looks like Simmons is channeling a minor version of his Oscar winning character in WHIPLASH, but then, something happens and layers are peeled back to reveal a vulnerability and likability that endures you to him. Add to this is Jon Bernthal's enigmatic assassin who is also after Affleck. Bernthal really has one trait that works for him - simmering rage - and he puts it to good use here.
But the performance that drew me the strongest into the film and, at the same time, pulled me away from it is Anna Kendrick as Jr. Accountant Dana Cummings, the person who uncovers the misdeeds of the corporation. Her character doesn't come on screen until about 1/3 of the way through the film, but at that point, she begins to take over in a role that should have been a supporting role. I don't blame Kendrick for this, she is a charismatic and engaging actress who is "must watch", I blame Director Gavin O'Connor for losing focus on who the main character of this film is.
Is it about THE ACCOUNTANT (Affleck)?
Is it about the agent chasing him (Simmons) and the secrets that he is hiding that connects him to THE ACCOUNTANT?
Is it about the assassin charged with killing THE ACCOUNTANT (Bernthal) and the connections these two share?
Or...is it about the JUNIOR ACCOUNTANT (Kendrick) and the idea of the innocent being pulled into a world of non-innocence?
Any one of these films would have been interesting, or maybe a film that was 25% about each of these...but, with Affleck in the lead, O'Connor focuses 70% of the film on THE ACCOUNTANT, so when we start spending, and investing, in the other characters, it is jarring when you are pulled from one to the other and back to Affleck's titular character.
All that said, I found I was invested in the finale action sequence and wanted each character to succeed, even though they are on opposite sides, which is a sign, for me, of something working well, I just wish things were more focused.
7 (out of 10) stars and you can take that to the Bank (ofMarquis)
Not only is he a mathematical genius with the numbers, but is also extremely handy with his fists and an arsenal of high powered weaponry he keeps in his executive trailer home... ready to up-roots and disappear at any time.
Supported over the phone by a mysterious 'Pepper-Potts-style' personal assistant, who appears more machine than person, Affleck is guided from job to job, dropping in the occasional "normal" job to keep the authorities off his tail. One of these is for a bio-technology company headed up by Lamar Black (John Lithgow) who brings him in - against the wishes of his FD and long term friend Ed Chilton (Andy Umberger) - since all appears not quite right in the books. Junior accountant Dana Cummings (Anna "Pitch Perfect" Kendrick) is the young lady who has seen the discrepancy but can't track it down in the labyrinthine accounts.
This so called 'safe' job lands both him and Dana in extreme danger as person or persons unknown, fronted by a hired 'heavy' played by Jon Bernthal, try to prevent some dodgy activities coming to the surface.
As a parallel thread, the head of the Treasury Department's Crime Enforcement Division, Ray King (J.K. Simmons, "Whiplash") strong-arms (for no readily apparent reason) analyst Marybeth Medina (an impressive Cynthia Addai-Robinson) into pursuing Wolff. With a keen intellect and a strong incentive she begins to close in.
Directed by Gavin O' Connor, this - for me - is a frustratingly inconsistent film. When it flies, it really flies well, both at an action level and at a dramatic level. The flashback scenes to Wolff's childhood are well done, showing how the autistic and needy youngster who needed compassion, quiet and understanding got the exact opposite from his militaristic father (Robert C Treveiler) to 'jolt him out of' his condition. It is easy to understand how he turned out the way he did.
On the flip side, the plot progression almost deliberately shines a spotlight on some questions (no spoilers) that if you ask them you immediately see the answers, resulting in most of the rest of the plot falling into place without shock or surprise. There was only one genuine twist for me, right at the end of the film, that I didn't see coming.
The script by Bill Dubuque ("The Judge") delivers some really nice scenes between Affleck and Kendrick, some smart (and genuinely funny) one-liners and one of the best abruptly ended speeches since Samuel L. Jackson's in "Deep Blue Sea". However, the whole Treasury Investigation story-line (however good it is to see J.K. Simmons act) is somewhat superfluous to the whole thing and just doesn't work.
Kendrick and Affleck have good chemistry, with Affleck trying desperately to breathe some likability into what is a pretty cold and calculating character. It's hard though to empathise with someone who - albeit indirectly - is the source of such misery around the world through drugs, terrorism, dictatorships and God-knows what else. Kendrick plays kooky and naive really well, but she really ought to get some protocols sorted out around letting people into her apartment: she really doesn't seem to learn!
It's a nice idea and entertaining to watch, but the delivery is flawed.
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Affleck does his best to portray the 'dead on the inside' accountant who just wants to feel and be loved. But, the messy story line and the altogether silly arc of the narrative left me thinking 'Just another bad movie you're in Ben...ya need to stop and think really hard before you agree to the next project'. Because, from his (let's say) 'crowning achievement' of Argo (which left me 'Eh!' for the record), Affleck has slowly slid down into roles that any guy over six feet tall and broad at the beam could have played. It would be churlish to say that, like his old chum, Matt Damon, Affleck is trying too hard to be part of a franchise action series like the 'Bourne' movies. (Though, 'The Accountant' left us in no doubt, like Arnie, he'll 'be back'). Nevertheless, this is just another pot-boiler action movie along the lines of so many others that take up space at the cinema and, unsurprisingly, do very well there too. So, 2017...book your seats for 'The Accountant 2...Payback'.
There is a well honed cast of supporting actors here. JK Simmons is good, though not great and must have choked on some of the lines he had to say. John Lithgow earned his keep (though from scene 1 he appeared in, we knew he was the bad guy...pantomime boo hiss). Cynthia Addai-Robinson tries really hard to be convincing in her role as a put upon special agent though, she fails. And the great Jeffrey Tambor is on screen for too little time to value the appearance and contribution of such a fine actor in this rambling story. Where it all really does fall apart is when Ana Kendrick appears on screen. Seriously? You expect us to take her seriously? For sure there are a lot of actors appearing in movies who got there by luck and not by talent but, she can't act. She can't do it. I mean, look...she cannot act! Now, before anybody goes haywire at me for praising some male actors here and appearing derogatory to the two female characters in this movie, I should add...Cynthia Addai-Robinson was great, I mean really great, in Luc Besson's/Olivier Megaton's 'Colombiana' a few years back. She did a really fine job in that movie. But, Anna Kendrick? Jeez, she stank in 'Up In The Air' (playing the same character as in this movie); she stank in '50/50' (playing the same character as in this movie); she stank in the truly awful 'Mr. Right' (playing the same character as in this movie) and she is currently involved in 'Pitch Perfect 3' (God help us all) which we all know will stink to high Heaven. In short, she's the luckiest, most talent-less actor out there right now. For one, I have no idea how she got there.
But, to finish on the only noteworthy thing in this movie. Jon Bernthal. Ladies and gentlemen, we are in the presence of a film star. Even though a lot of what he had to do was clichéd nonsense (the good guy/bad guy gangster type), he did it all with absolute conviction. This meant that his performance was, by far, the only credible character in the whole powder-puff that is 'The Accountant'. (Immediate disclaimer - the incongruous and plain silly ending he had to cough the last lines out of remains just that, incongruous and plain silly). But, he's a genuine star and I hope to see much more of him in better movies than this.
All in all, 2 hours passed. 4 out of 10