By Michael Kaye
The Accountant (Review)
Warner Bros. is probably my favorite of the six major studios so far in 2016. I'm not just saying that because I'm a DC fanboy, but rather simply because they're a studio that at least tries to take care of its talent and/or intellectual properties. For example, clearly they are in the Ben Affleck business as of late, whether he's directing his own movies or playing Batman in the DCEU. Today, however, he's doing neither, as he's starring in Gavin O'Connor's latest action thriller The Accountant, along with Anna Kendrick, Jon Bernthal and J.K. Simmons.
Here's the story. As a math savant uncooks the books for a new client, the Treasury Department closes in on his activities and the body count starts to rise.
Because I'm a little pressed for time, this is gonna be a shorter review than usual. That being said, it's not exactly an easy film to talk about without giving away some major spoilers, so what I'll do is give you my brief overall thoughts now, then dive into the more interesting stuff after the spoiler alert.
The Accountant is awesome! People are just being cute when they describe this movie as "Jason Bourne meets Good Will Hunting," but I'd like to think of it more as "A Beautiful Mind meets John Wick." That not only better describes Ben Affleck's character, but it also more accurately represents the tone of the film. Affleck does a really good job playing a hitman on the autistic spectrum, and major props have to go to both him and director Gavin O'Connor for doing their homework by accurately portraying this mental condition. It's not easy to fake intentionally awkward chemistry, but that's exactly what Anna Kendrick pulls off beautifully as Affleck's kinda sorta love interest. If you watch DC Movie News on the Popcorn Talk Network, then you'll probably get a kick out of Jon Bernthal's uncanny impression of Jonny Loquasto, and J.K. Simmons has already proven that he was born ready to play Commissioner Gordon in the DCEU. It's a Gavin O'Connor movie, so you know the action is going to be great, but don't actually go in expecting a bone crunching action movie. Screenwriter Bill Dubuque takes his time developing the characters and making the audience think. Sometimes the pacing can be a little wonky, and I'm not a fan of this one long exposition dump at the start of the second half, but overall I had a phenomenal time with the movie, and I hope you all rush out to see it this weekend.
*FULL SPOILERS FROM THIS POINT FORWARD*
Ok, so I've seen the Tomatometer for this movie, and it's looking pretty split, with 51% as of this writing. I have a hunch that the reason has something to do with a particular reveal of Jon Bernthal's true identity towards the end of the film: he's Christian Wolff's brother! People are either going to love or hate this twist, but I can't really decide how I feel.
On the one hand, it makes sense if you were paying any attention to the flashback sequence where both brothers were training with the martial arts specialist, hired by their father who's in the military. That should have been enough to explain where both of them got their highly advanced combat skills from.
But what people are not going to like is the giant ass coincidence that Lamar Black hired both of them without doing much of a background check. Not only that, but what would have made the reveal more emotionally satisfying is if, instead of J.K. Simmons reciting that mountain of exposition, more time was devoted to establishing the relationship that Chris and Brax had growing up. Show, don't tell, especially something this important!
As I said above, The Accountant was just plain awesome, a refreshing change of pace for everyone involved! I expect to see Ben Affleck, J.K. Simmons and Anna Kendrick reunited again in 2019 for The Batman, with Kendrick playing Barbara Gordon (you know you want to, WB).
You guys know the drill by now. What did you think of The Accountant? Have you seen it yet, are you going to? Also, how badly do you want to see Anna Kendrick in a comic book movie? Drop your thoughts in the comments below, and stay tuned for my next review, where I go back to 1966 with Adam West and Burt Ward in the animated Batman movie Return of the Caped Crusader!