I haven’t told this story much in recent years, but back in high school, 1996 to be exact, I lived in New Jersey and was a huge Kevin Smith fan (thanks to my Grandma, who suggested I see Clerks a year prior to that). In any case, it was rather serendipitous timing, as I’d gotten word from a friend that Kevin Smith was shooting his new movie, Chasing Amy, in the area and needed extras.
So, one day, myself along with a couple of friends skipped school, with forged notes from our respective parents in order to be in Kevin Smith’s latest movie. He was shooting at the Brick Ice Hockey rink in Brick, NJ. It was the “Finger Cuffs” confrontation scene of the movie, featuring Ben Affleck and Joey Lauren Adams. I remember being dissapointed at the time that it wasn’t a scene with Jason Mewes, or Jason Lee, just this Ben Affleck guy, the one guy from Mallrats..if only I’d known then that he was going to be a huge star back then, I’d have asked for a picture or an autograph or something. As it stands all I have for that scene is the knowledge that in the wide shot of the movie, you can see a maroon blur two rows down and two people across from Ben and Joey, and that’s me. My friend Jen, you actually can see sitting two people apart from Joey Lauren Adams, even in the clip that’s on Youtube.
Well, in the 21 years since then, Ben Affleck has gone on to be a huge star. He’s shown his range in everything from sci fi movies (He was the bomb in Phantoms, Yo) to being an ok Daredevil and one of the better Batman actors we’ve ever had. But today we’re here to talk about his action thriller from last fall, The Accountant.
In the movie, he stars as Christian Wolff, an autistic math genius, who uses his skills as an accountant to cook the books for some of the worst criminals, and some decent people too. But he’s not only a math wiz, he also has combat training, and can handle most any firearm given to him thanks to training he’s been receiving since he was a child from his Army officer father.
He gets called in to try to figure out an accounting issue with a robotics company founded by Lamar Blackburn (John Lithgow), and soon after Christian and the office worker assigned to help him Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick) uncover that not all is on the up and up with this company, who sends thugs led by Brax (Jon Berenthal-The Walking Dead, Daredevil) to kill both of them. Now Christian must use his skills to the ultimate test, all the while evading the Treasury Department agents who are tracking him down played by JK Simmons and Cynthia Addai Robinson (Arrow).
I really enjoyed this movie, it’s a taut action thriller, the sort of movie equivalent to a paperback novel you read on an airplane. Great performances, Ben Affleck shows off a bit more of his range playing a man dealing with autism, who doesn’t let his disability define him, which I just loved. Him and Anna Kendrick have good chemistry together. And JK Simmons is always great to watch in anything.
The script by Bill Dubuque (The Judge) keeps things moving along at a brisk pace, and you never get bored during any lulls in the action, as you’re just interested in these characters. There were a few flaws in the story though, as one plot reveal near the end of the movie I felt was kind of an obvious one to this critic, but others might not think so, but it is pretty obvious. And the direction by Gavin O’Connor (Warrior) has everything honed down to a nice tight pace, making the two hours spent in the world of this movie fly by. If you’re in the mood for a different kind of action drama thriller, you should check out The Accountant today.
Reel Geek’s Grade- B
The Accountant is available on Blu Ray, DVD, and Digital.