Chuck Zlotnick/Warner Bros.(NEW YORK) — Even with his recent acting “comeback” — his “Benaissance,” if you like — I find Ben Affleck is still underrated. Sure, we understand he knows how to direct a film with the best of them, winning a Best Picture Oscar for Argo, but as an actor, I don’t think he get a fair shake from critics.
The Accountant should dispel any notion that Affleck isn’t a solid actor. To deny that is just pure hating. Don’t hate.
Affleck is Christian Wolff, an accountant with autism. Through flashbacks, we learn about his difficult childhood and his family’s efforts to treat him. His parents explored putting him in a home for autistic kids but his military father didn’t want that. Instead, Dad taught him to function in the “real world” by teaching him and his brother to be, well, badass in the ways of self-defense. I’ll keep the rest of his backstory spoiler-free.
J.K. Simmons plays Ray King, a treasury agent who tasks Marybeth Medina (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) with figuring out Christian’s identity and whereabouts, after he keeps showing up in surveillance pictures with the most powerful, dangerous arms and drug dealers in the world.
Though Christian works as a regular accountant out of a storefront office in a Chicago suburb, he’s anything but. A biotech firm run by Lamar Black (John Lithgow) hires Christian to figure out a discrepancy discovered by one of the firm’s own accountants, Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick). Before long, Christian and Dana become targets for assassination – and that’s when all of Christian’s exceptional, and lethal, skills come into play.
There are some twists and turns here, a few of them contrived. For example, King’s interest in Christian is farfetched. At the same time, Affleck gives one of his better performances here. Kendrick’s perfect comedic timing adds an appealing layer to the film, and John Bernthal (The Punisher in Netflix’s Daredevil), as head of the team of assassins, it a terrific bad guy. Director Gavin O’Connor has a knack for making good but underrated films (Warrior comes to mind), and The Accountant will probably be one of those, too.
Three-and-a-half out of five stars.
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