20161020

A film review: 'The Accountant' or When Murdock Meets Castle.

 Why cover half your butt-chinned face, Batfleck? You're just a goddamn accountant!

Origin: United States · Language: English
Director: Gavin O'Connor · Writer: Bill Dubuque
Genres: Action, thriller, drama · Release: October 14, 2016

Casts: Ben Affleck, Jon Bernthal, Anna Kendrick,
J.K. Simmons, Cynthia Addai-Robbinson,
Jeffry Tambor, John Lithgow

More info: IMDb

So, this movie happened. I had no anticipation whatsoever, as to me it came out of nowhere. Also, in the style of the previously reviewed Midnight Special, Warner Bros. yet again managed to shoehorn a few product placements to show us that they are highly involved with this film (other than of course the appearance of Batfleck himself as the lead, alongside the future James Gordon, which is not that apparent especially for the uninitiated); a glimpse of Action Comics (a comic book series that was responsible for introducing us to DC superheroes like Superman, for example) and using Solomon Grundy's (a zombie supervillain in the DC Comics universe) name as a plot device. Yeah. I'm catching on here.

Well, you're probably sick of me mentioning the name Movie Addict, but I have to thank them again for getting us film buffs a free preview to the film. Also, I knew about this film from that Facebook group. What's interesting though, again, I'm intrigued by the poster more so than I do the trailers. I don't touch that thing even once for The Accountant. It's definitely the film's poster alone... or maybe reviews from film critics whom I trust (I'm talking about Chris Stuckmann and Jeremy Jahns) that sold me. I mean, come on! The title is The Accountant, but Affleck is holding a sniper rifle and his face is half-obscured? How does that add up? THAT'S why I want to see it! And then there's Jon Bernthal? What are the odds? Former Daredevil AND current Punisher in the same film? And did I buy it? Not the tickets obviously. But the movie itself? It's fantastic, though it mildly affected my head for its offbeat approach to storytelling that is surprisingly well-handled!

Oh. This is a SPOILER-FREE review. So read on if you feel like catching a film not based on anything, in which this kind of film is scarce these days... that would make accountants smirk, thinking that everyone would think they are cool just because The Accountant can shoot people in the head. I'm kidding, yo!

So basically, the film revolves around Christian Wolff (Affleck), who is, well, an accountant for hire. Meaning? He does accounting thingy for dangerous clients in the crime world. He's been doing this for a while, until this film happened, after he meets Dana Cummings (Kendrick) and he had to do whatever it takes to finish his job and protect Dana using his experiences growing up as an autistic bad motherfucker! Of course, being the kind of man that he is, he has a few pursuant with different motivations; these being Raymond King (Simmons), the director of Treasury Department for the US government and a mysterious assassin-for-hire known as Brax (Bernthal).

As usual, as this being a spoiler-free review, telling you the best bits of what the plot entails would ruin it for everyone reading this review, so, let's keep it vague. Because its vagueness (read: no one gives a shit about any of the marketing gigs) is the beauty of this film, which is exactly how it is marketed even in the film's poster.

Where to start, eh? I guess, let's talk about the writing: there's nothing to compare it to. Heck, it's even from an entirely different school from Quentin Tarantino despite employing a non-linear approach to its storytelling. You could say that there are flashbacks that are told on top of or in the middle of another flashback. Also, describing it as being merely an action thriller is quite misleading and an understatement. If you actually follow through the storyline, it is in fact a well-rounded family drama and an excellent autism public service announcement with comedies in between, so calling it an "action thriller" is only a totally diabetic icing on the cake, so to speak. It also has a totally predictable, yet uncalled for resolution... that is a happy one. Huh? An R-rated film giving of "aww" instead of "awesome" or "oh, man"? Sweet, right? Yes. It was a sweet ride, indeed.

Now, the acting. Welp, Batfleck. You are definitely a legit superhero now in my book, since I think Christian Wolff is totally a partial allusion to Batman and, in some cases, the disgraced Daredevil. While I don't know much about autism, much of his character's flashback does most of the preachy bits about it, and the kid that played him, as well as Affleck himself, are much of the same (with the adult Wolff being more badass and more skilled, of course), and they are very good at faking autism and awkwardly socialize in realistic manners. Their heightened sensitivities toward certain things are also channeled perfectly through their amazing actions. The other characters? Well, thanks to their excellently written backstories that are all tragic and gives them all purpose, the actors managed to pull those off and incorporate them into their present characterisation with apparent humanity, even those that are minor (I'm talking to you, Accountant's dad). Which means? They are all winners here! Everyone brings their A-game!

The technical sides? Well, there are some decent cinematography here and there, with long shots and strobe lights and everything. There's also a very meticulous sound design that is engineered especially to move the plot a long which made me think "Why go through with such pain just to find this guy who calculate things?" Then there's the pencak silat moves that are slick as hell (let's thank The Raid for making Hollywood choreographers recognise the badassery of the martial art). The accounting bit? Yeah, I hate numbers and calculations. But thanks to all of that, it managed to create very dense and lively, if not colourful, mise-en-scene that fits the tone of the film perfectly.

To bluntly put it, this film easily blew me away. Yes, being blunt can help us normal movie watcher or sensible film buffs to enjoy a film like this; an action film that care about its characters. Yeah, screw your opinions, critics. While they could streamline some bits of the story, I think this is a novel attempt at humanizing a film genre that is otherwise known to become something that encourage viewers to "turn off their brain." This film is great for what it is, and I couldn't say any less about it. Highly recommended for those who wishes to see human badasses that can guarantee a literal bang for your buck at the movies!

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