The Accountant – Wholly Incalculable

Kyle Fosse-Staff Writer

What an odd movie.

I don’t mean that as a bad thing; certainly, I suspect that it was quite a good movie. I just don’t know what to make of it.

It’s not an action movie, per se, but it does involve a lot of action scenes (which I thought were quite good). It’s more of a drama, though not a typical drama by any means. Let me just try to sum it up, without giving too much away:

Ben Affleck plays Christian Wolff, a brilliant, troubled, highly-autistic accountant who works for some very… exclusive clients around the world. His work and upbringing make him a very dangerous man, guided by a moral code and excessive OCD. Hunted by a treasury agent (J. K. Simmons) and aided by a sprightly young accountant (Anna Kendrick), he uncovers surreptitious financial dealings in a robotics company. Just as he gets too close to the assignment, things quickly go south.

It’s a little bit like A Beautiful Mind mixed with the Jason Bourne trilogy. If the story of a bad-ass accountant dropping bodies like Bourne and hunted by hit-men doesn’t spark your interest at least a little bit, then this film might not be for you.

Affleck plays it cool and stolid throughout, which contrasts nicely with the brightness which Kendrick brings to the scene. It’s a good ensemble, and they play off each other well.

Directed by Gavin O’Connor, who you may know from Warrior or Pride and Glory, the film flows, narratively, and turns out to be surprisingly human – not in the normal action-movie-swelling-music sort of way – but in some very genuine and real moments; although, at times, it did feel a bit stinted. Long expositional dialogue scenes and constant flashbacks managed to subvert some of the interest in the main through-line.

Underscoring it all is a constant peppering of dry humor, whether in dialogue or visual language, which tints the film nicely with some much-needed warmness.

Seamus McGarvey, who earned two Oscar nods for his work in Atonement and Anna Karenina, acts as cinematographer. The visual style of the movie flips back and forth, much like our protagonist – at times almost entirely motionless and calculated, and at times shaky and almost indiscernible. While that style could have been distracting, I thought it complemented the film, and it didn’t feel like an excuse to cop-out of good action.

Throw in some moody and unconventional lighting techniques, a few moments of true visual poetry and you have yourself an overall original and visually-engaging movie.

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