Cocktails And Movie Review: “The Accountant” – Ben Affleck Kicks Ass In An Action Thriller That Rivals Jason Bourne!

by Mike Reyes

The Accountant is one of the best films of this year, as its potent mix of noirish drama and pulse pounding action puts it in rarefied air.

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October has been known for its surprises, what with political revelations, tricks and/or treats, and now movie offerings in said month managing to knock the public for a loop. The beginning of the month looked like business as usual, with The Girl on the Train failing to take in an impressive gross and The Birth of a Nation becoming a non-starter. But this week should change that, as Ben Affleck is about to kick some serious ass in The Accountant, the latest film from Warrior director Gavin O’Connor.

Christian Wolff (Affleck) is a math savant with a reputation as an accounting whiz. Even if your papers are out of order, your bank statements don’t line up, and your brother’s been cooking the books so perfectly you wouldn’t think to look twice, he can find the truth in the numbers. Good at what he does, Wolff is a loner – until an accounting intern (Anna Kendrick) inadvertently draws him into a web of intrigue involving a CEO (John Lithgow) and the financial records that he’s questioning from his own company. When the guys with guns start to show up, Wolff gets to show off his other set of skills: his ability to defend himself, and those around him, with deadly, exacting force.

Watching The Accountant reminded me of the first time I’d seen The Bourne Identity, as Matt Damon went from character actor / all around good guy to ass kicking professional in one, simple film. While Ben Affleck has already made that transition with his role as Batman in this year’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, his role as Christian Wolff shows that Affleck can still kick ass when the dramatic portion of the script requires heavier than usual lifting.

His performance as Wolff is nuanced, showcasing all facets of this complicated character with a mind different from the average person. Christian’s status as a math savant isn’t played for laughs or quirks, rather the film actually integrates his mental state into the actual story, particularly in his origins that are shown throughout flashbacks. Though, to be fair, there are no bad performances in this film, especially with a cast that includes John Lithgow, Jon Bernthal, Jeffrey Tambor, J.K. Simmons, and Anna Kendrick – who really needs more opportunities to kick asses after this flick. Your move, Marvel.

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Story wise, there is one big hiccup towards the end that involves an information dump. What’s trying to be an Ocean’s Eleven style reveal that connects the dots turns into a slowed down patch that takes momentum away from the film, which up until that point is sailing quite well. This doesn’t kill the film completely, as this is not only vital information, but also really great work from J.K. Simmons’ end. However, the film does have to pick its pace back up after this moment – which it totally does, as it proceeds to one of the most action-packed fight scenes this side of  Jason Bourne. In fact, watching Ben Affleck throughout this film, it feels as if he’s found his own Bourne like franchise; one I’m desperately hoping manages to come through.

While The Accountant stumbles a bit in its execution, its quantity of thrills, emotional weight, and really good character content make it an October surprise I’m happy to have experienced. Between Gavin O’Connor’s skilled directing of a slick film, and the various A-list cast members who give some pretty mind-blowing performances, this is a fast movie that leaves you wanting more. Here’s hoping that once Warner Bros. has crunched the numbers on this one, evil will be receiving another hell of an audit from Christian Wolff and his accounting / ass-kicking skills.

My Rating: 4.5 / 5