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Movie Night – ‘Accountant’ represents good fall movies

By Bradley Griffith

If summer is the season for mega-blockbusters that cost hundreds of millions of dollars to produce, then fall is the time of year where serious adult movies reign supreme at the box office.  Newly released film “The Accountant” is a perfect example.

Even as a child Christian Wolff (Seth Lee) was different.  His parents didn’t understand him.  He had no friends other than his brother.  Christian was a high-functioning autistic who was a whiz at math and puzzles.  His parents tried everything they could think of to help Christian, but nothing did.

His mother could no longer stand the stress of trying raise him.  One day as their father returned from an overseas posting in the military, his mother left and never came back. Christian’s father raised him and his brother the only way he knew how, the army way.  He made both boys train at martial arts relentlessly despite the brutal beatings they would take from their adult teachers.

As an adult, Christian (Ben Affleck) is an accountant.  He has what seems to be a small accounting business in an unremarkable strip mall.  He drives a truck and lives alone in an average, middle-class home in the suburbs.  But Christian has a secret. Actually, he has many secrets.

Christian’s true vocation is working for various criminal kingpins around the world.  When money goes missing from their ill-gotten empire they can’t exactly pick up a phone and call an accountant from the yellow pages.  They call Christian.  He swoops in, uses his unique abilities to uncook the books, and always finds solution.  For this service he is paid handsomely and, occasionally, one of his clients wants to eliminate him because of the secrets he keeps.

Trouble starts for Christian when he is called to look at the books of a legitimate business, a robotics company, to find out who is stealing money from them.  This above-board job quickly leads Christian down roads he would rather avoid.  But he can’t stop until he knows the truth.

In a way, “The Accountant” is Affleck’s answer to best friend Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne series.  Rather than being a mindless action movie, “The Accountant” is a thinking man’s thriller in much the same way as the Bourne Series.  The story is well written with many twists and turns along the way.  Wolff must keep peeling back the layers of lies until he finds the truth.  There are twists that you might see coming, and some that you’ll never guess.  The plot is well developed and it’s deeper than your average action movie.

As usual, Affleck does a good job as Christian Wolff.  He’s not the greatest actor in Hollywood, I don’t think anyone would argue that point, but as he ages he has developed a keen sense for solid roles in good movies.  His decision making has improved exponentially.

Affleck’s Christian Wolff is without a doubt the main character of the movie, but there are also solid performances from Anna Kendrick as a junior accountant at the robotics company, John Lithgow as the owner and founder of the company, and J.K. Simmons as the U.S. Treasury agent who is after Wolff.  Joe Bernthal of “The Walking Dead” fame also makes a memorable turn as Wolff’s nemesis.  Bernthal is so good at playing an arrogant jerk I’m starting to wonder if he is acting at all.

“The Accountant” is what good fall movies should be, it’s interesting, suspenseful, filled with tension, and even has a morbid sense of humor.  But above all, it is entertaining.

Grade: A-

Rated R for strong violence and language throughout.