20170207: Thriller Review--The Accountant

Name: The Accountant (2016)
IMDb: link to The Accountant page

Genres: Thriller.   Country of origin: USA.

Ben Affleck as Christian Wolff, Anna Kendrick as Dana Cummings, J. K. Simmons as Ray King, Jon Bernthal as Braxton Wolff, Jeffrey Tambor as Francis Silverberg, Cynthia Addai-Robinson as Marybeth Medina, Jean Smart as Rita Blackburn, John Lithgow as Lamar Blackburn.

Directed by: Gavin O'Connor.   Written by: Bill Dubuque.
Ben Affleck as Christian Wolff

The Three Acts:

The initial tableaux:
1. Christian is strongly autistic, needs to concentrate on single tasks, and finish them or else.  For instance, missing one puzzle piece spurs him to violent rage, not to finding the God-damned piece.  His childhood is troubled, to say the least.  On the other hand, his raw intelligence is immense, and his ability to concentrate (when not distracted) is staggering.  Clearly, he is bound for prison.

2. Christian has a huge stroke of luck.  His cellmate Francis is a genius who is well-versed in money flows among criminal organisations.  Christian learns sophisticated and highly detailed transactional rules.

3. Christian sets himself up as an accountant as his outward facing work.  He assassinates criminals for other criminals as his darkside employment.

4. Ray King wants to retire in seven months with the capture of Christian as his crowning achievement.  He blackmails the talented but flawed Marybeth Medina to ferret out Christian. (She does the capture, or she loses her career for a well-covered over childhood felony.)

5. Brax, Chris' brother, has similar talents and training, but not the autism.  He takes up the same line of work.

Delineation of conflicts:
Ray wants to go out a winner.  Christian wants to handle his stress and keep both jobs.  Marybeth wants to keep her good name and fine job.  All three of these cannot go on forever.  Just to add to the mix, Christian's younger brotherhood Braxton, who has similar skills, is an enforcer in the same game.  Will Brax and Chris cross paths again?

Resolution: Marybeth does her job; Ray looks for a successor.  Christian needs to finish, and Braxton is the consummate professional.

One line summary: Talented autistic assassin faces brother.
Anna Kendrick, Ben Affleck


Cinematography: 8/10 Good camera work throughout, save for a few intervals of pure shaky cam horseshit.

Sound: 8/10 I could hear the dialog, and the musical accompaniment was fine.

Acting: 6/10 Ben Affleck, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, and veterans Jeffrey Tambor, Jean Smart, and John Lithgow were just fine.  I do not recall seeing Jon Bernthal (Braxton) before, but I thought his performance was excellent.

On the downside, Anna Kendrick is in the film.  Probably no director can get a good performance out of her.  All scenes that included her performances were compromised, rather like rotting fish in a green salad.  JK Simmons played his usual ho-hum asocial monster, to which I say, who cares?  Why is this man accorded sacred cow status?

Screenplay: 9/10 Surprisingly good.  Moves right along, and is engaging throughout.  Well, except when Anna Kendrick was permitted to speak.

Final rating: 8/10