The Accountant (****) is compelling though predictable

the-accountant-movie

The Accountant – 2016

Director Gavin O’Connor
Writer Bill Dubuque
Starring Ben Affleck, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons, Jon Bernthal, John Lithgow, Jeffrey Tambor, Jean Smart

It’s a potential franchise for the perpetually disenfranchised. It’s Rain Man on steroids. It’s not so good will hunting. It’s a connection for all of us who thought we could never connect to someone of different ability, often referred to as being in an autism spectrum.

Ben Affleck is Christian Wolff, an accountant in a nothing town in rural Illinois. He’s got a straightforward demeanor that could be construed as rude. He doesn’t like to fish, but he will use your farmland as a shooting range for payment of services rendered.

Back in Washington D.C., Ray King (Simmons) is on the verge of retirement as Director of the financial crimes division of the Treasury Department. He gives a young analyst (Addai-Robinson) the opportunity of a lifetime that she literally cannot refuse.

Many miles away, a hit man threatens the life of a sleazebag financial pirate, coercing him into changing his ways.

Of course these three stories are connected. One sees the common threads for almost everything in the first act, but seeing how well O’Connor lets his actors play out is a genuine treat.

Affleck is an absolute dream playing someone with a social disability but a type of mathematical genius. It’s a role he’s been playing his whole post-Gigli life. He has a command of the screen with his inability to make eye contact but his incredible gift with numbers, graphs and two shots to the head. We are seeing a hero more easily remembered than any he’s played to now.

The rest of the cast is incredible, if overkill for their roles. Each provides a nuanced touch that brings the predictable story into a fist pumping ride along. Addai-Robinson, the relative new talent of the bunch is smartly invested as a young protege to Simmons’ Commissioner Gordon role, if we were to keep with the Batman theme.

That O’Connor would select this story makes sense if one were to see his previous classic Warrior, as it borrows many of the same themes. There is but one moment of this film that is a genuine surprise to the reviewer. What is truly the biggest wonder is that it all works from an entertainment standpoint. This is fertile ground for a series. Let’s hope they follow through.

(**** out of *****)

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