Rated: R for strong violence and language throughout. Reviewed by: Frank Release date: October 14, 2016 Released by: Warner Brothers
Accountant Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) is cool as ice, he is slick, smooth and polished. He is also riddled with sharp burs in his personality and his development as a functioning human.
Director Gavin O'Connor has framed one of the best films of the year around the activity of Christian and his background as an autistic kid. The film is not presented in a linear fashion, it moves back from time to time to display or explain the world Christian lives in. As a child his father determined not to have the kid a laughing stock, forced him and his brother to endure and learn power self defense tactics to physically destroy those who might not respect him. That skill is turned for an alternate use in his adult life.
Early on we see him helping a farm couple reduce their taxes by using all the rules to their advantage, that leads to him be invited to their farm land to practice shooting, another important skill he learned very effectively from his upbringing by his father. It is probably important to note his mother walked out on the family when the two boys were very young. Christian's brother was clearly more angry with mom than he was.
Christian continues with his determined control lining up kitchen utensils perfectly, exercising in a unique way from 9:45 to 10:00 each evening. He continues to be held by the patterns from childhood which require completing everything he begins, he also has a spectacular ability to observe data, absorb it and determine the patterns in the body of information. His clients are not all small farmers, his skill at developing acceptable accounting procedures come at a high price for certain customers.
The supporting cast is spectacular J.K. Simmons is particularly effective as the long term treasury department investigator who enlists a young member of his staff to investigate and determine who The Accountant is and find him. Simon's Raymond King describes himself as a modest bureaucrat who is just getting by as he nears the end of his career. Why she was chosen is one of the questions which only comes clear late in the film. Cynthia Addai-Robinson is Marybeth Medina a young department employee who is smarter and more determined than expected, she has much too loose if her task is not completed, and she is not about to fail.
The accountant's questionable clients have made him wealthy, but have not changed his solitary lifestyle, he has a home and a secret mobile house that contains much wealth and equipment for and from his dark side. After Dana ( Anna Kendrick) discovers serious problems within a small company and Christian is called in to find the problem. His skill allows him to move quickly focusing in on the cause of the problem. In this new job, Christian is not allowed to complete his work and that is difficult for him to accept. Beyond that the president of the company is killed and Christian's work is removed from his office. That leads to violence and perhaps uncovering his secret life.
The Accountant is filled with questions that prevail throughout the script, it is also an exciting action filled film, with some of the best performances of the year. Ben Affleck is chilling as a cold calculating master of his craft J.K. Simmons walks a tight line as he moves through a tough case for him to deal with. Anna Kendrick quietly influences The Accountant is a manner he is not used to understanding. Jon Bernthal is Brax the unyielding leader of the assassination team who is also part of the mystery of The Accountant. John Lithgow and Jean Smart are part of the corporate leadership they each have secrets to keep. Robert Treveiler effectively plays a father determined to protect his kids by making them physically tough and strong without limits.
The performances in The Accountant are as effective as the twists in the script, together they make one fine piece of entertainment.