If you are a semi-regular reader, then you would know my friends do a themed monthly movie night. The theme this month and more specifically April 15th (when we watched it) is for taxes … so we watched The Accountant. The thing I remember from the theatrical release was that it followed Ben Affleck’s big screen debut and short return as Batman. We got to see his fantastic performance in the almost watchable Batman vs. Superman and some small appearances in the Oscar winning Suicide Squad before finding out his own film (The Batman) is being quickly taken apart and likely delayed at every point. The good news is we got a quick follow up from his parallel universe counterpart, The Accountant.
I would give it 8 “you brought a knife to a belt fight”s out of 10.
FOR THE UNITIATED
In a world where Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) is a seemingly mild mannered accountant, not all is what it seems. In flashbacks to his childhood, we find out he is special needs but astonishingly smart. His father was a no-nonsense military colonel and leaned into Christian’s triggers while teaching him self defense since people don’t like things that aren’t normal. We also see that his older brother helps him out whether it be calming him down or chasing a bully who gets away.
Back to modern day, we are introduced to Ray King (J.K. Simmons) and Marybeth Medina (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) who are the police assigned to the case of a world class accounting genius that assists the worst of the worst launder their money. Of course that is our accountant, and he is hired to help a prosthetic limb lumiary (John Lithgow) find out who is embezzling after an in house accountant (Anna Kendrick) discovers some abnormalities.
The plot thickens with a mob backstory (Jeffrey Tambor), a brutal cleaner / fixer (Joe Bernthal), and some interesting twists along the way. It manages to avoid getting convoluted and keeps a great pace.
The action and pacing were perfectly in tune with the constantly unraveling mystery. There are a lot of movies that struggle with keeping a story evenly paced and balancing different aspects such as action and mystery, but The Accountant pulled it off masterfully. The action is very abrupt and similar to John Wick in terms of precision and cleanliness. It showcased how great Ben Affleck could be when given the time to shine in a standalone Batman movie. The twists and reveals were good enough to keep you on your toes, but not too far fetched. It isn’t enough to detract from the movie in terms of begging you to solve it before the end of the movie.
My nitpicking for this movie was Ben Affleck’s “character” acting as someone with special needs. You can tell he did some research and was coached, but that aspect of his performance just seemed lackluster. It seemed like he hit all the right notes, but didn’t put his heart in it. The kid version of his character was definitely more unhinged and the adult version was supposed to be more calm and under control. It just seemed like he needed more opportunity to show that side of himself.
This is by far the best Batman movie that wasn’t a Batman movie. Christian Wolff was trained from adolescence due to an internal trauma, received tech support and intel from an Oracle-like person, and had more support from a Commissioner Gordon type character (and J.K. will be playing that role in Justice League). If this warrants a sequel, which is possible, then he could easily go up against a Riddler-esque character. If you didn’t see The Accountant in theatres, it is worth renting or buying even.
For a similar movie, I would have to go with John Wick which I reviewed previously. The action is a big step up from The Accountant but the backstory slightly is slightly worse (or more generic). Keanu Reeves personifies John Wick to a “T” as if that was the role he had been training for his entire life. It is one of the rare movies that has come out recently that I believe to be near perfect. The action is razor sharp and is near intoxicating with how phenomenally executed it is.