HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: The Accountant
HTS Overall Score:86
Ben Affleck used to be one of those actors that I wrote off as being completely washed up. He made some fun movies with his buddy Matt Damon back in his early 20s, but he started fading at about the turn of the century, nearly tanking his career completely after that awful “Gigli” with Jennifer Lopez in the early 2000s. At that point I marked the check box off for “washed up and time to ignore”, only to be surprised when he gained a passion for being behind the camera as well as in front of it. “The Town” actually made me sit up and notice his skills for the first time and as the actor has matured so have many of his movies (and my respect for him”. “Argo”, “Extract”, “Gone Girl” and now “The Accountant” have made me actually relish the man’s next movie so much that I’ll go see it just based upon his inclusion. “The Accountant” is not nearly as deep or epic as some of his more recent fare, but it takes a unique look at autism and crafts a rather fun action movie that just WORKS on just about all levels.
Movies about Autism and other special needs people tend to shy away from the action genre. Usually they’re heavily influenced by syrupy emotional swells and try to pull at your heart strings or function as dramatic Oscar bait for powers that be. The few action movies that have delved into this subject matter have been a bit “odd” to say the least. “Mercury Rising” and most definitely Thai martial arts film “Chocolate” come to mind when you think of said disability (while “Chocolate” is a hilariously fun action movie with insane stunts, it’s not exactly the most delicate film with its subject matter). While “The Accountant” is not high art, it does treat the subject of autism with a sense of respect and realism (at least with how the characters interact with the world). Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) is a brilliant mathematics savant (like almost supernaturally gifted mathematically) who has lived his entire life with autism. After struggling and learning to cope with his unique gifts and disabilities he is able to live a semi normal life as an accountant. The thing is, he’s an accountant for the mob and every other criminal on earth due to his skills and discretion. This has garnered the attention of the U.S. Treasury department director (played by J.K. Simmons) who is desperate to find him. Sending agent Marybeth Medina (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) after the elusive cooker of books, Director King is bound and determined to bring the man in before he retires.
Simultaneously we find out a few things about good old Christian Wolff. It seems that he’s not JUST an accountant for the mob. With the aid of a mysterious British voice in his telephone, Christian agrees to take a safer job and lay low for a while. This job happens to be undoing the books for a Robotics company run by Mr. Lamar Blackburn (John Lithgow) who just so happens to need an audit done to see who is stealing money from him. The only thing is that this job may turn out to be more perilous than he thought, as the simple audit turns deadly when a group of mercenary assassins target Christian and Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick), the Robotics company’s accountant who caught the lost money in the first place. Now it’s a fight for survival and Christian is MORE than prepared to fight to the bitter end.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=88346[/img]“The Accountant” rides a nicely balanced tightrope between impactful movie about a man’s struggle with autism and a full blown big, dumb, action movie. Right off the bat, if you’ve watched the trailer, you know that Christian Wolff is not just your regular accountant. He deals with the mob and such, but the real surprise is that he is not only a savant at mathematics, but also at killing. This conundrum of paradoxes is developed organically over the course of the film so that by the time that Christian unleashes his near instinctual skills you’re already invested in the character and know that he’s capable of so much more than just going through 15 years of financials in a single night. When he and Dana go on the run you’re just sitting there with a giant grin on your face as Affleck’s imposing physicality and skills as an action star take over the screen. Still, there’s a sense of depth and vulnerability to his character as the disability that he was born with makes it so that he’s not exactly quick on the draw when it comes to subtle sarcasm and humor, which makes for a few good chuckles along the way.
I was really surprised to see Anna Kendrick attached to the film, as the dark and gritty action film just didn’t seem to suit the upbeat actress. However, while I may not COMPLETELY agree with her casting, I have to say that she and Affleck has some very solid chemistry. His blank stares and emotionless appearance make for a good foil to her cute and bubbly personality. A pairing that almost drives the two together romantically (but thankfully is not pushed to fruition. A choice which feels much more natural and engaging than forcing a romance out of the two). My only complaint with the film was that the third act starts to stumble and falter just a bit. When J.K. Simmons character starts dumping tons of exposition on us with Agent Medina, that is when you see a steep dip in the quality. From there the action is good, but the unbelievable suspensions of disbelief keep getting bigger and bigger till the very end where I actually winced just a bit. That’s not to say that the movie is bad, it’s actually a great movie that was just turned “good” by that rough and overly dense third act that just couldn’t leave the mystery alone.
Rated R for strong violence and language throughout
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=88354[/img]“The Accountant” comes to Blu-ray with a stellar looking 2.35:1 AVC encode that is taken from a freshly minted 2K master (something which I will bring up again in my review of the 4K version later). I love movies that are shot on film, and “The Accountant” looks stunning in its presentation. Colors are warm and inviting, with a light golden push, but overall a really natural looking color grading. The picture is razor sharp and showcases some fantastic looking detail from the intimate facial stubble and 5 o’clock shadow on Ben Affleck’s face, to the little creases and folds in Anna Kendrick’s dresses. Background details maintain a healthy amount of clarity and except for some intentional softness on background details during a zoomed in shot, but otherwise we have an amazing looking image on our hands. Black levels are deep and inky. Just watch the end shootout with Affleck assaulting the mansion in the dark. Almost no banding whatsoever and shadow detail is exemplary. The contrast is evenly balanced and despite the minimal banding in a few of the darkest scenes the movie is pretty much artifact free.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=88362[/img]Warner actually has given us a pair of English lossless audio track s to enjoy with “The Accountant”. Sadly there is no Atmos or DTS:X, but we do have a DTS-HD MA 7.1 and DTS-HD MA 5.1 track to differentiate between. I’m kind of curious to see the reasoning behind WHY the two different tracks as the 7.1 and 5.1 are pretty much exactly the same with the exception of the 7.1 having a little bit of extra surround activity in the direct rear. They don’t appear to be mixed any differently so your receiver downmixing would come pretty close to the exact same thing. Still, if you have the equipment the 7.1 track is of course the desired one with those extra channels. The dialog is set firmly in the center of the trio of mains and the front sound stage is open and lively throughout. While it IS an action movie, “The Accountant” tends to be largely front heavy with a lot of dialog heavy scenes. When the action kicks up near the second half of the movie that back mix is potent when necessary and the resulting bass from the sound of the fisticuffs and gunfire is impressive (the sound of that .50 cal sniper that Affleck uses will knock you back in your seat).
• Inside the Man
• Behavioral Science
• The Accountant in Action
“The Accountant” is a great movie that is only hampered and turned into a “good” movie by a rather over indulgent and overly unbelievable third act. Affleck has been knocking them out of the park lately and I’ve become more and more impressed with the actor as he matures and regained his footing after the debacle that was “Gigli”. Having a movie about autism and super action is a bit weird of a concept, but it somehow works quite nicely and gives us a fantastic fun ride. If I had to change anything it would be too much forced exposition in the ending third of the film and a “twist” near the end that was even more unbelievable than an autistic hitman. Still, I had a blast watching it and enjoyed it even more the second time watching it. Audio and video are great, but the extras are a bit disappointing. Definitely a good watch.
Starring: Ben Affleck, J.K. Simmons, John Lithgow, Anna Kendrick
Directed by: Gavin O'Connor
Written by: Bill Dubuque
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 7.1, English DTS-HD MA 5.1, French, Spanish, Portuguese DD 5.1, English Descriptive Services DD 5.1
Studio: Warner Brothers
Runtime: 128 Minutes
Own The Accountant on Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray and DVD on January 10!
Buy The Accountant On 4K Blu-ray at Amazon
Buy The Accountant On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Good Watch
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