Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Accountant Movie Review

The Accountant (2016) 
Buy The Accountant on Amazon Video
Written by: Bill Dubuque
Directed by: Gavin O'Connor
Starring:  Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, JK Simmons, Jon Bernthal, Jeffrey Tambor, John Lithgow
Rated: R

My rating is simple, Watch It, It Depends, Skip it. Read my previous movie reviews!

A small-town accountant with high-functioning autism makes a living uncooking the books of criminal organizations around the world that are experiencing internal embezzlement.

The concept carries this movie.  Affleck plays a character with autism who doesn't have an emotional attachment to anything. This is hero that isn't constrained like the usual protagonist, though the movie does throw in moral roadblocks as a dilemma which serves the same function.
While this movie gets bogged down with the backstory and creates something entirely implausible, it doesn't ruin anything. It gets into your head as you imagine how you would launder money or go on the run from criminals.
Watch it.

By default this is an interesting character. Chris is a math savant with severe reactions to light and sound since childhood. He's now an adult managing to cope, but he's also a money launderer and murderer. How does he lead a normal life, much less an illegal one?

The backstory is more than a bit contrived, and it would have been best to not try to explain how he has this training and got into the money laundering business because this is a person tailor made for this profession.

Affleck does a great job conveying how this character feels. Most movies would play off the awkwardness that comes from autism as comedy, but this doesn't and it shouldn't. Anna Kendrick plays an accountant who finds a discrepancy in her huge firm and Chris is called in. He's the man that can find and fix any accounting error.
Chris doesn't like to interact with people. As he's eating lunch outside, Kendrick tries to start a conversation and you can see on Affleck's face how he'd rather not be there but tries to cover it up the best he can.
Most heroes have to save the girl, a friend, or their family. They have an emotional attachment that serves to advance or prolong the plot. Chris is immune to most of those weak points. He's built his life so that he can skip town in twelve minutes. His attachment is moral instead of emotional for Kendrick, but either way it serves the same purpose. He sticks around to save her, because she doesn't deserve it. It doesn't fit Chris's mindset. I would rather see this movie present a movie hero that doesn't fall into the typical tropes.

This doesn't set a new standard for fights. It wasn't meant to surpass or even match Bourne or John Wick. We do get a nice fight with a belt, but it's a bit too short of a scene.

For a movie that's included a lot of backstory, towards the end we get a long scene of exposition. It's a lot of talk for a movie that has moved pretty quickly up to that point. That's part of the problem. This movie is way too interested in the back story. This is that last chance to cram a little bit more in before we get to the final scenes. The movie explains too much. John Wick creates lore by not explaining Wick's past, and while The Accountant doesn't need to create a mythology, it doesn't need to explain everything.

This has a big twist towards the end. it's another example of the movie trying to be too cute. Throughout the film, it anticipates the questions from viewers and provide answers. How did he get into the business? How does he know how to fight? The movie answers these questions, but its stretches the imagination just a bit. The twists towards the end try to link everything up and they only work to varying degrees.

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