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The Accountant (TheaterByte Movie Review)

The Accountant (2016) poster artThe Accountant features Ben Affleck (Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice) as the bespectacled Christopher Wolff, a high-functioning autistic adult, who works out of a plain vanilla office in a rural Chicago suburb, preparing the tax returns of regular folks. His home is sparsely furnished with one place setting and a closet containing a dozen identical dark sport jackets and khaki slacks.

Christian’s backstory reveals a troubled childhood during which his Army officer father (Robert C. Treveiler), (think Robert Duvall’s Colonel “Bull” Meechum in The Great Santini), forces both him and his younger brother Braxton (Jake Presley) to master martial arts. The adult Chris has adopted numerous coping strategies for his autism including nocturnal visual and auditory overload and, coincidentally, he has become a very skilled assassin with a most impressive arsenal of deadly weapons. Wolff’s legendary international trail of money laundering for some truly dangerous people has drawn the unwanted attention of US Treasury Agent Ray King (J.K. Simmons, Whiplash). King is nearing retirement and wants to go out in a blaze of glory. This will only happen if he successfully rectifies his botched investigation of the Gambino family massacre and reveals Wolff’s true identity when the accountant is finally delivered to the federal government. To speed up King’s quest for answers, he coerces Treasury analyst Marybeth Medina (Cynthia Addai Robinson, Arrow) to join forces with him by promising to make her criminal background (that she deliberately omitted from her federal job application) disappear if their mission succeeds.

Wolff gets a cell phone call from “The Voice” to review the ledgers of the Living Robotics Corporation after a junior company accountant, Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick, Into The Woods) discovers some bookkeeping irregularities to the tune of 61 million dollars. CEO Lamar Blackburn (John Lithgow, Interstellar) and his sister Rita (Jean Smart, Hope Springs) urge Christian to proceed with his forensic examination of Living Robotics’s books. Wolff goes through 15 years worth of records in one night and shares his findings with Dana. It appears that CFO Ed Chilton (Andy Umberger, Desperate Housewives), Lamar’s best friend, has engineered the illegal transfer of funds, and after he is paid a visit by “The Assassin” (John Bernthal, Sicario),  Ed commits suicide.

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When Dana is put in harm’s way by the Assassin’s henchmen, Chris rushes to her defense, and, in so doing, nearly breaches his emotional firewall. This odd couple goes on the lam as agents King and Medina pursue Wolff and “identify” him from his time spent in a federal penitentiary with big-time white-collar criminal Francis Silverberg (Jeffrey Tambour, Transparent). But the accountant whose aliases are names of famous autistic mathematicians proves to be as elusive as he is violent and the slam-bang conclusion of this film will recall some of Steven Seagal’s better martial arts efforts.

Director Gavin O’Connor (Warrior) is no stranger to combat cinema and, aided by a great script from Bill Dubuque (The Judge) gives us two hours of tense nonstop action. Seamus McGarvey (World Trade Center) provides cinematography that puts us continually in the center of the action and Mark Isham (The Conspirator) delivers his usual brilliant and atmospheric film score. With an absolutely flat affect, Ben Affleck nails the portrayal of a behaviorally challenged man whose  skills in finance and self-defense are simply epic.

The Accountant is a well-paced movie that keeps viewers on edge and delivers an ending that would seem to signal the first installment in a cinematic franchise.

The Accountant (TheaterByte Movie Review)
4 / 5 TheaterByte Rating
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Warner BrothersStudios & Distributors
R (language and violence)Rating Certificate
128 MinutesRun Time
2.39:1Aspect Ratio
Gavin O'ConnorDirector
Bill DubuqueWriter
14 Oct. 2016Release Date
The Film
A taut thriller with an outstanding performance by Ben Affleck as a behaviorally challenged man with tremendous skills in finance and self-defense
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