The Accountant is a smart, intelligent action thriller that’s simply one of the coolest movies of the year. While there’s no shortage of action movies out currently, the film takes a unique look at the concept of a vigilante, with a modern and intelligent storyline that combines the relevant and the ridiculous. Leading it all is an amazing performance by Ben Affleck, giving one of his best performances ever, a pdefected role crafted following a successful career.
Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) is a private accountant, working for numerous high profile and illegal organizations and uncooking their records. When the CEO of a robotics company (John Lithgow) assigns him to look into some missing funds, Wolff pairs with a bright young accountant (Anna Kendrick) to uncover a conspiracy. But when the secrets behind Wolff’s past as unveield, he most confront his inner demons and test his own abilities.
Ben Affleck has had one of the most interesting careers of any modern actors; after a series of mainstream terrible films, Affleck turned around his career by stepping behind the camera and directing films. But as Affleck has grown as a director, he also improves an actor. As Wolff, Affleck is subtle, nailing the nuances of playing an autistic character whilst not going over the top. His performance almost distracts from his stardom, perfectly emoting in all the right places.
Anna Kendrick is good in the film, but feels miscast; Kendrick’s characters are typically more comical or sassy, but the role requires her to display more of a wide eyed innocence. That being said, Kendrick has good chemistry with a Affleck, and properly serves as an emotional link for the audience. While John Lithgow and Jeffery Tambor are given smaller and less significant roles, J.K. Simmons gives a surprisingly vulnerable performance as an aging secretary reaching retirement. Also great is Jon Bernthal, who’s serves as a thoroughly menacing villain who also adds some humor to the story.
Gavin O’Conner, who first broke out with excellent Warrior, understands the nature of the film perfectly. It’s more of a drama, with nonlinear storytelling successfully tying together Wolff’s past with the detailed plot. But when the action hits, O’Conner delivers with long shots and tracing cameras, focusing on the excellent choreography and stunt work by the cast.
Its a surprisingly balanced film, with some humor that adds to the story but isn’t distracting. While certain revelations are seen coming, the film consistently draws our attention to the story. It’s not just based around set pieces, and the ending makes a remarkable decision that delves into the heart of Affleck’s character.
While marketed heavily as an action thriller, The Accountant is an effective conspiracy thriller with brilliant action sequences. It’s impressive how the film ties together, and making an inspiring decision to make an artistic character a central action hero. O’Conner and Affleck has crafted a smart, fun thriller with one of the year’s best characters, who may very well lead his own franchise into the future. Grade: -A
For more of my thoughts on The Accoutnat, check out my apperance on “After Credits”: