With films such as Warrior, Miracle, and Pride and Glory under his belt, director Gavin O’Connor has proven his knack for taut storytelling moved profoundly by tremendous casts who bring his stories to such glorifying or sometimes horrific life. He has a propensity for gritty, handheld camera work that when used properly can turn an already emotional scene into a sincerely heartbreaking or even triumphant revelation. This can turn a film from good to memorable for all the right reasons. It’s a simple equation of great story plus great acting plus great direction and when all three align something special happens and great cinema is born. The Accountant, starring Ben Affleck, is further proof of a talented director who I believe is just hitting his stride.
This will most likely find its genre home in the world of action. That is a correct placement for it. But much like countless other excellent films, The Accountant can easily be placed in multiple genres. In fact I would argue this is a drama with action in it for the purpose of propelling the story forward to a hopefully logical conclusion. Action or fight scenes don’t just happen here for the sake of an actor getting to look cool (Affleck looks pretty damn badass in this, I must admit) but rather any fist fight or gun battle takes place because the story demands it. Whether he is protecting someone he cares for or seeking revenge against a person or persons who wronged him he must defend and put down any and all obstacles.
This is a film that yearns to be memorable and attempts this with gritty, brutal hand to hand combat and fast-paced, bloody gunfights that help the already compelling story raise itself to another level above a forgettable action flick starring Batfleck. There’s more to this film than the trailers have let on and so an opportunity to be pleasantly surprised by a film not ruined by its trailer arrives and I strongly recommend giving The Accountant a chance.
Affleck’s character has a form of autism that makes it extremely difficult to connect with other people despite the desire to do so. He does a phenomenal job of balancing his emotions of which this character has issues with maintaining any semblance of normalcy with someone who could be simply trying to ask him how his day is going. His mind demands symmetry whether in a visual sense or in his everyday life tasks like accounting. When his symmetry goes askew his lack of control of the emotions that have eluded him his entire life begin to seemingly fire all at once causing him to breakdown. This is one of Ben Affleck’s best performances in a long time. With a lack of social skills, a balance is struck with the whimsical Dana, played by my love (I wish), Anna Kendrick. She plays a simple but obviously highly intelligent accountant who finds camaraderie and kindness in Affleck’s standoffish presence who despite his best efforts, begins to connect with her.
O’Connor and company have made a film that builds on story to create captivating moments of tension as these characters are patiently fleshed-out so that when things do go wrong, the audience actually cares. This heightens the action giving it that extra weight that suggest importance and calls for complete attention. The film asks its audience to be in the moment and to observe closely as everything is not simply handed out on a silver platter. It demands something out of us and that is what I love in a film. I want to be questioned and left with wondering and contemplation. Two parts Good Will Hunting, one part Jason Bourne, The Accountant is that rare action (drama) film that wants more, goes for it, and without question, captures it.
Supporting the strong performances of Affleck and Kendrick (Attorneys at Law) is the recently Oscar ordained, J.K. Simmons who acts as the bridge between “The Accountant’s” world and the world of law enforcement and transparency. Jon Bernthal (One batch, two batch. Penny and dime) turns in a lively but always engaging performance as a man of equal talents to the mysterious “Accountant” when it comes to tactical situations.
The Accountant makes the audience wait, only revealing certain cards at specific times allowing a picture to take shape that is profound and unexpected. Calculate the odds and see this movie, I predict you will enjoy the story of espionage, assassins, and family as The Accountant progresses from good, to memorable.
Rated R For: strong violence and language throughout
Runtime: 128 minutes
Genre: Action, Drama
After Credits Scene: No
Starring: Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons, Jon Bernthal
Directed By: Gavin O’Connor
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 4.5/ Acting: 4.5/ Directing: 4.5/ Visuals: 4
OVERALL: 4.5 Nerdskulls
Check out the trailer below:
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