Besides his recent appearance as Batman, Ben Affleck has chosen a pretty respectable selection of roles in the past couple of years. The Batman career decision is still very much up in the air in regards to whether it was a wise choice. However, the final verdict is in for his new starring vehicle The Accountant, which is hands down one of the best films of the year. This collection of cast and crew has expertly crafted an interesting character drama that is wrapped within an intense action crime thriller. Affleck stars as Christian Wolff, an autistic forensic accountant whose clientele tend to fall on the criminal side. When he is selected to look into an accounting discrepancy at a legitimate robotics company and unravels a conspiracy, he is forced to use his special military style skills to save himself and an accountant that works for the company.
The story from Bill Dubuque (The Judge) is superbly done, skillfully interweaving a back story throughout the present day narrative in order to further flesh out the main character of Wolff. The flashbacks serve as an important part of the story, giving us a better understanding of Wolff and also setting up the finale. The back story could be described as being similar to Dexter, with the father teaching the abnormal son a particular set of skills so he can make it through life. The dialogue is good and seemed plausible for most of the characters and the situations that they were involved in, with some humor peppered throughout. The one complaint might be that the only character that is fully fleshed out is Affleck’s Wolff, but the rest of the main roles are provided with enough to at least make them more than simply one-dimensional.
Director Gavin Hood (Warrior) and cinematographer Seamus McGarvey (The Avengers) make what could be considered simple and mundane actions fascinating and engaging. These particular scenes involving the accounting and Wolff’s peculiar routines are just as captivating as the action sequences that take place. The action scenes are crisp and look great, with only a few minor moments that may have been slightly over edited. Besides that the editing is well done, especially during the forensic accounting sequence. The score is exceptional and is used when needed to accentuate moments in the film, it never goes overboard.
Affleck is in rare form here, providing one of his best performances to date. This has to be his most unique and nuanced character and portrayal yet. He has created a persona with specific and precise habits and movements, facial gestures, and physicality that feels real and makes you believe that this character is affected by a mental disability. It is also displayed in his speech pattern and the way that he interacts and reacts to the people around him that continue to build this engaging character. His particular fighting style is also built around his eccentricity, it is more honed in and numerical compared to an average person.
Jon Bernthal is the complete polar opposite of Affleck’s character and absolutely stands out in every scene that he’s in, playing the outspoken and charismatic assassin. Anna Kendrick is somewhat similar to most of her roles, but is essential and plays off well versus the unconventional Wolff. J.K. Simmons and Cynthia Addai-Robinson are strong in their supporting roles as Treasury Agents. Robert C. Trevelier and Seth Lee standout as the younger versions of Chris and his father, both deserves a tremendous amount of credit for their performances and for adding more depth to the story and the character.
When it does occur, the action in this is simply phenomenal and it is easily some of the best action sequences of this year so far. It blends between being silent and psychological like in No Country for Old Men and then moves into the gritty combat style that is reminiscent of The Raid. It should be noted that the combat fighting that is featured in this is the Indonesian style of Pencak Silat, which incorporates strikes, grappling, and throws along with the use of weapons. Affleck shows that he can more than handle himself in a realistic action role.
The song that plays at the end of the picture is “To Leave Something Behind” by Sean Rowe, with one of the main lyrics in it saying “And I’m just trying to leave something behind.” It’s meant to be a passionate message from a father to his son and it has a deep meaning within the movie, but it also applies to the overall production of this motion picture. The filmmakers have left behind something great, which has far greater potential to become a franchise like John Wick or Jack Reacher has than Batman ever will.