This review was written by Anthony J Digioia. Follow him and his website here for more awesome reviews: SilverScreen Analysis
The Accountant: Review by Anthony J Digioia
“THE ACCOUNTANT” stars; Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons, and is directed by Gavin O’Connor. The story follows the life of a man with a form of highly functioning autism. He is a mathematical genius, owns his own CPA firm, and moonlights as an accountant for dangerous criminal syndicates across the globe.
I was highly anticipating this one, I was hoping for a great action film and in the end this movie delivered so much more than that. This movie was surprisingly script driven, and a hundred percent effective in telling an intriguing story, with tense action scenes littered throughout. The story-line felt fresh and unique for what the trailers advertised and had a good structure, hitting the dramatic elements, building suspense and intrigue, as well as splashing in effective doses of hilarity.
There was a good amount of depth to the lead character and the layers of his life were peeled back in a timely way that gives you the right pieces of information, at the right time, to deliver the most effective impact. It helped give this story a great flow allowing you to fully connect with the character of Christian Wolff. Now I will admit that, other than the surface knowledge of autism, I know very little. But I really enjoyed how this story incorporated it into the character of Christian Wolff, and how it was worked into the course of the story. The trait Wolff possessed was never framed as something that was a weakness, it was just something that made him, different.
He had his idiosyncrasies that dictated his life, things that made his life unique from the ordinary, but not something that hindered him from his success. This character was a successful man that was able to accomplish many goals in his life and it was his father’s influence at a young age that really impacted who Wolff would grow into as an adult. This story really develops the influence of his father, clearly showing his father viewed his autism as a weakness that in effect made him even harder on him as a kid. Actions that introduced violence on his life at an early age, honing him for the life he led underground as a freelance accountant for criminals.
Almost as if he was seeking out the violence, not looking for simple fortune. Not to forget he was a mathematical generous that would simply love the challenge of un-cooking their books given all the variables that criminal accounting would entail. These two layers of the character were excellently portrayed by Ben Affleck in what is now by far his best performance, in my opinion. He delivered all this role needed to create a unique character, with two lives in a sense, as this story excellently conveys the results when they overlap.
Affleck was so likable in this role and regardless of the great story, this film would not be the same without his performance. He delivered commanding physical acting, his mannerisms and lack of expressions were intriguing, and he created a comical side to his character that made him even more grounded and able to connect with. The combination of the writing and his performance resulted in a character you just want to watch in a story, and learn more about and that is something that can only lead to a great film.
Anna Kendrick was also very good and like I had predicted she gave a common character a unique feel with her delivery and she and Affleck had an awkward chemistry that only pulls you in leaving you wanting more. Their conversations didn’t have the best flow as their personalities merged and it translated to some comical moments to add some light to an otherwise dark story-line.
The rest of the cast; J.K Simmons, John Lithgow, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Jeffrey Tambor, Jon Bernthal, all were great in their roles and added many appealing characters to the story-line. With the time this script takes to tell itself, they all have some depth to them, that is revealed at different stages throughout. The action was also well shot, very crisp and violent, yet extremely controlled. The action-sequences were all very smooth and fluid and Affleck was more than capable in this action persona.
The direction by Gavin O’Connor was on point. It wasn’t overly flashy at all, but used some appealing locations as well as a muted and washed out color pallet for the film, that blended really well with the characters and tone of the script. Bill Dubuque wrote an excellent script. The story is structured, intelligent, visceral at times, and shows loads of creativity and ambition in creating some different from all the other films in the genre. There were some twists and turns in this one and it all adds to the unpredictability and from start-to-finish this movie captivated my attention.