Opinion: Reviewing “The Accountant”

Gabby Seed BW

Gabby Seed

This past weekend’s box office No. 1 movie was “The Accountant,” an action thriller starring Ben Affleck and Anna Kendrick. The film brought in over $24.7 million during the weekend, falling behind the approximately $37 million brought in by Affleck and Rosemund Pike’s 2015 psychological thriller, “Gone Girl.”

With that being said, “The Accountant” is currently competing against “The Girl on the Train,” the adaptation of British writer Paula Hawkin’s gripping novel.

“The Girl on the Train” brought in almost the same amount during its opening weekend as “The Accountant,” but has perhaps received more publicity by way of media moves, such as star Emily Blunt’s “Saturday Night Live” hosting gig.

A current renaissance in psychological thrillers pits films like “The Accountant,” “Gone Girl” and “The Girl on the Train” against each other as complex, engaging entertainment that falls somewhere between hackneyed action movies and far-fetched criminal dramas.

Even though a relative failure next to “Gone Girl,” “The Accountant” had me leaving the movie theater Saturday night in awe of Affleck’s performance and the surprising intermittent twists and turns.

“The Account” centers aroumd Affleck’s character, an autistic math wiz named Christian Wolff, whose military father raised him to fight viciously so that he would never be victimized. Wolff’s intelligence, affinity for recognizing patterns and stealthy nature lead him toward the business of freelance accounting, which he learns from a fellow inmate while in prison.

Wolff is definitely a “good guy” but his methods of exposing Living Robotics, a company that is stealing millions of dollars, are questionable.

Along the way, Wolff must protect Dana Cummings, an accountant at Living Robotics who quickly understands the misdeeds that are going on, after Wolff shows her the patterns. We also learn about the family history of Wolff and his brother, the team trying to track down Wolff, and the neuroscience institute to which Wolff is donating much of his laundered money.

While I won’t ruin the movie for you with any spoilers, I will say that the endless layers in “The Accountant” are fascinating. This is not purely a crime thriller but a family drama and occasionally, even a comedy. I laughed out loud, covered my eyes and jumped out on my seat in a few scenes.

Affleck’s meticulous, detailed acting covered up any old, recognizable characters, making way for the character of Wolff – and Wolff alone. Kendrick’s did the same; I saw little trace of Nick from “Gone Girl” or Becca from “Pitch Perfect.”

I especially have a new respect for Kendrick, who, before now, always seemed to be acting in bumbling comedies, made up of a handful of hastily thrown together famous names.

The one major downfall of “The Accountant” is the perpetuation of the damsel in distress trope. Kendrick’s character was completely at the mercy of Affleck’s, only surviving because her knight in shining armor had the training akin to that of navy seals.

Thankfully, Cummings’ incredible intellect almost made up for her passivity and lack of pluck. Throughout the course of the film, she is the sole character who seems to understand the math and patterns laid out by Wolff in his investigation of Living Robotics. This is, at the very least, an obvious movement away from female supporting characters who act only as eye candy.

While you might have your eye on the hyped-up film “The Girl on the Train,” it’s definitely worth your time to also take a look at “The Accountant.” With layers, twists, complex characters and surprises — what’s not to like?

Gabby Seed is a columnist, contact her at [email protected]