Scott Says THE ACCOUNTANT Is One Of 2016’s Best Films.

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FILM REVIEW: THE ACCOUNTANT

BY SCOTT PETERSON

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Gavin O’Connor’s (Warrior) The Accountant is such a strange beast of a film. I can only imagine how the pitch went down to get this film green-lit. “Let’s have a man who suffers from a form of Asberger’s Syndrome moonlight as an accountant by day and a ruthless assassin by night. Think Good Will Hunting meets Jason Bourne and we can even get Matt Damon to play both characters in the same film. Oh, he’s booked, let’s grab his best friend Ben Affleck”.  Okay maybe that’s not exactly how the pitch played out, but on paper, you have to admit the mere idea for The Accountant sounds like a movie Ben Stiller would have surely made fun of in Tropic Thunder. The great thing about movies is no matter what our preconceived notions are going into a film, we have to see with our own eyes how it all unfolds. The Accountant is like a giant jigsaw puzzle. We are slowly spoon fed bits and pieces throughout the film and while all the pieces don’t quite fit in the end, The Accountant still entertained the hell out of me.

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Ben Affleck plays Christian Wolff, a freelance accountant afflicted with Asperger’s Syndrome. Wolff  is a savant that covertly fixes the books for some of the world’s most ruthless criminal organizations. When dealing with such morally bankrupt clientele, it ‘s also beneficial that his militaristic father had Christian learn jujitsu at a young age so he wouldn’t get bullied by other kids.  He owns a legit accounting firm called ZZZ Accounting located in a strip mall to keep the government off his scent. Wolff also has a storage unit stashed with an RV, cash. passports, what looks like a small armory and valuable paintings so he can disappear off the grid within minutes. Wolff takes a job at an advanced robotic company run by Lamar Black ( John Lithgow) that is leaking millions of dollars. It is his job to find out where and why the cash is hemorrhaging.  It is here he meets Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick), the accountant  who originally found the accounting error. Both Wolff and Cummings get right to work and quickly ascertain that everything isn’t as it seems. Meanwhile, Ray King (J.K.Simmons), the head of The Department of Treasury and one of his minions Marybeth Medina (Cynthina Addai-Robinson) are hot on Wolff’s trail.

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I will step aside from this point because a lot of the joy in The Accountant lies with the viewer peeling back all the layers and trying to assemble every piece of the puzzle O’Connor has laid on the table. The big winner here is Affleck. His intricate, robotic performance as Christian Wolff is a surefire franchise starter. I want to see a string of these films. It doesn’t matter if he is perusing through years worth of  tax paper work or crunching a baddie’s neck, Wolff’s demeanor never, ever changes. Affleck’s chemistry with Kendrick is also noteworthy. Take away all the action and violence and I could  just as easily watch Affleck’s Wolff and Kendrick’s Dana Cummings in a romantic film. They are that good. My only gripe with the film was the whole J.K. Simmons Detective King story line. Simmons is great as usual, but his character added absolutely nothing to the film and when taken at face value, his subplot actually detracts from the finished product. But overall, The Accountant is one of my favorite films this year. If you want drama, great acting and bone crunching violence, let The Accountant fix your books.

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FINAL WORD:  StarStarStarHalf Star