The idea that organizations involved with organized crime need great accountants to do their money laundering is a concept covered through side characters in some variety in many mob movies. Until the arrival of THE ACCOUNTANT, I can’t think of a film which put this position in the forefront of the plot, especially where that person is the film’s protagonist.
Ben Affleck portrays a high-functioning autistic man whose numerical calculation skills have lead him to be a great accountant who is often employed by criminal enterprises. His recent employer is a robotics company seeking forensic accounting to determine if someone is stealing from their company. Anna Kendrick is the junior analyst in the company’s finance department who found the irregularity which caused the company’s CEO (John Lithgow) to seek Affleck’s assistance.
Having found evidence of the existence of “The Accountant”, the Director of the Financial Crimes part of the Treasury Department (J.K. Simmons) is putting a talented young analyst on the task of determining the man’s identity. A group of hired guns is also on the trail of The Accountant, though for reasons we don’t determine until late in the film.
The film’s plot was interesting, though a few details I didn’t mention above made it a bit more complicated than I was expecting. It came together with a few unanswered questions, one of which could be considered fairly vital to the background as to why two parts of the plot are potentially tied together (for those who have seen the film, I’m speaking of the plot points concerning the computerized voice on the phone with which multiple characters interact). It’s an entertaining film with three decent twists, but the complexity of everything involved might have been better served as a television mini-series.
There were no groundbreaking performances here from any of the main players, though everyone did a good job. Quite a few actors probably would have done a better job with the autism part of Affleck’s character, but the other side of his personality was very believable, as Affleck looks completely comfortable wielding a variety of guns and doing some hand-to-hand combat. Nothing special was required out of Kendrick, Simmons or Lithgow. We did see more hints from Jon Bernthal (Walking Dead; Daredevil) that he has the range to be a leading man. The upcoming PUNISHER series on Netflix should be really, really good… but those who saw him in Daredevil knew that was likely to be the case. It’s always good when an actor can show range on multiple different projects, showing that it’s not all just about the director.
I look forward to a second viewing of THE ACCOUNTANT, now that I’ve untangled the plot once. I don’t envision myself seeing it a second time in the theater, but if someone I knew wanted to see it, I certainly would. I didn’t like it enough to own on Blu-ray, but those who have read a few other of my reviews know that I buy Blu-rays at a pace of about 2 or 3 per year, and at least one of them is usually an older movie.
For those of you who don’t mind a fair bit of gunplay, give it a shot. THE ACCOUNTANT gets violent, but it’s not graphic violence. The accounting aspects of the film don’t add to the confusion of what’s going on. They don’t go into any significant details on those portions of the plot to where anyone should get lost. Don’t go into the film expecting a lot of interaction between Affleck and Kendrick, however. Their work together comprises less than half of the film’s runtime.
My rating: 83 out of 100