Monday, October 10, 2016


The Accountant is a 2016 action-thriller directed by Gavin O’Connor (notable for his films Warrior and Miracle) and is the story of Christian “Chris” Wolff who is a forensic accountant/financial consultant who does work for dangerous people and has a very particular set of skills (to steal from another film) that make him lethal. This film stars Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, Jon Bernthal, J.K. Simmons, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, and John Lithgow. This is an extremely strong and intriguing film that is one of the best action films of the year.

There is a lot The Accountant does really well but it primarily focuses on story and character development to its strong benefit. Christian Wolff is a character who is on the spectrum of autism and has other developmental issues that he struggles with. By drawing this character in such a way and by having him go through a story with the intensity and intrigue that this story does really tests the bounds of the character and exposes him in a fascinating way. Ben Affleck also delivers a really impeccable performance and successfully goes places with it he hasn’t really gone before.

He is accompanied by a cavalcade of well-drawn and interesting side characters as well. Anna Kendrick brings a lot of her personality into her character, Dana, but what I thought was really neat was how much I believed she was an accountant in her own right which was great to see. Jon Bernthal was also incredibly magnetic throughout the film. He gets to be more vocal and have more personality than something like his role of the Punisher which really works and made him compelling to watch. He has the gravitas to go toe to toe with anyone he’s on screen with and does so very well. J.K. Simmons also had a moment here or there that were really solidly presented as well.

The story reaches beyond its performances in ways though by really making a point about dealing with people with mental disabilities. I wasn’t expecting a thread of that in this film but it was definitely there and really well delivered. To that extent, I think Seth Lee who plays the younger version of Chris really brought out his “A” game and allowed for this subplot about disability to be more emotionally investing than it would have been otherwise.

The last, and most obvious, strength of this film is the action. It is gripping, intense, and massively entertaining. There are so many moments that are jaw dropping and all of the real fighting and stunt-work made it all the better. The styles, forms, and decisions of the fighters all made a lot of sense and showed O’Connor’s deep knowledge of how to develop realistic fights between characters. This film incorporates a lot of use of firearms as well which they made equally compelling to the hand to hand combat and produced some truly *pardon the language* badass moments to behold.

This is a really strong film and doesn’t have a large number of negatives. There is a plotline with Simmons and Addai-Robinson’s character with the government tracking Chris that didn’t feel totally relevant to the drama going on. Kendrick’s character was great in bringing personality and humor to the screen but was underused in the film. The action, though awesome, has a lot of edits in it that didn’t enhance my viewing experience of those sequences. There is also one story beat that goes entirely unaddressed which felt like a weakness to me. None of these flaws are fatal, but combined they do reduce my overall enjoyment of the movie.

Despite some flaws, this movie as a whole is extremely entertaining and one of the best action films of the year. This will have audiences drawn from start to finish and it manages to go places I definitely didn’t see it going. There is also one particular part of this film (that I won’t spoil) that was far and away worth the price of admission for me. Definitely go see this film!

Ryan’s Score: 8.5/10

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