‘The Accountant’ — starring Ben Affleck and Anna Kendrick
9.5 out of 10
By Hayden Welty ’19
“The Accountant” is a unique blend of both action and drama that culminates in a thoroughly enjoyable, fast-paced thriller with the kind of twists and turns you won’t see coming.
The film follows Ben Affleck as Christian Wolff, a math mastermind and deadly assassin who is both blessed and cursed with a touch of autism. Behind the cover of his small accounting firm, the math savant “cooks the books” for some of the most dangerous organizations in the world.
Ray King (played by J.K. Simmons) and Marybeth Melina (played by Cynthia Addai-Robinson) are two agents of the Treasury Department’s Crime Enforcement Division. When they start to close in, Wolff decides to take on a legitimate client for once: a robotics company where accounting clerk Dana Cummings (played by Anna Kendrick) has discovered a discrepancy in the company’s financial records involving millions of dollars.
Other notable performances include Jon Bernthal as the antagonist Brax, and Jeffrey Tambor as Francis Silverberg, the owner, founder and CEO of Living Robotics. The cast is rounded out by John Lithgow, Gene Smart, Andy Umberger, Alison Wright, Jason Davis, Robert C. Treveiler, Mary Kraft, Seth Lee and Jake Presley.
Their entire performance grounded a film that had to put up with paradoxical and complex tropes like that of an autistic assassin.
Affleck brings his character to life, offering a sense of realism, while also maintaining a fearsome persona. He respectfully plays a character who seems to have more of an affinity for numbers than for people.
Anna Kendrick is also exceptional as Wolff’s romantic interest, simultaneously illustrating the brilliance and frightfulness of Wolff’s lifestyle.
I was impressed by both Affleck’s and Kendrick’s ability to maintain their acting poise in more serious roles, compared to their former jobs playing a billionaire who dresses up as a bat vigilante at night, and the leader of an acapella sorority, respectively.
Although not as noticeable as the two leads, the entire cast does an incredible job immersing you in the story. “The Accountant” simultaneously carries out multiple plots at once: Between constant flashbacks to Wolff’s childhood, aspects of Wolff’s romance with Cummings, and cuts to the Treasury Department’s investigation of the mysterious accountant, the movie manages to keep you enthralled in multiple stories at the same time.
Honestly, it would not be surprising if each sub-story could fill the entire time slot of a single film.
Finally, I have to mention the action: This was some of the most well-choreographed and well-shot action I have ever witnessed as a moviegoer, aside from maybe “Captain America: Civil War,” which, by the way, is considered to contain some of the best action of all time.
In the end, the crime drama, produced by Warner Brothers, is reported to have made an estimated $24.7 million dollars on its opening weekend, beating out “Kevin Hart: What Now?” and “Max Steel” in the weekend box office standings.
Cinemascore, an organization that polls moviegoers, gave the film a strong A rating, although critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave it a measly 50 percent.
Overall, it seemed to get a very strong reaction from moviegoers, while critics found it less appealing. For example, on Rotten Tomatoes, 87 percent of fans said they liked “The Accountant,” which is in stark contrast to what the critics thought.
Similarly, on Metacritic, critics gave it an overall score of 54 out of 100, while audiences ranked it as a much higher 8.1 out of 10.