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Screen » Film

Little Boxes

"The Accountant" makes up its own rules



Film studios and critics always try to place movies in little boxes. This one's a comedy. This one's a mystery. This one's a if "drama" isn't the most generic and shortsighted description for film imaginable. When a film plays fast and loose with genre, the marketing department is usually at a loss, selling the film as something it isn't.

"The Accountant" bounces between genres in such a way that makes each scene feel like it's from a different movie. There are elements of character-based drama, mystery/thriller, comedy, straightforward action movie and even superhero flick. While all of these aspects don't always combine seamlessly, it's just weird enough to make for an incredibly engaging and wildly original movie.

Ben Affleck plays The Accountant. He's given a name, but it's definitely an alias, one of many he's had over the years. He's an autistic savant obsessed with solving numeric puzzles. He works as a forensic accountant for arms dealers, drug cartels and some of the most dangerous people on the planet, all while maintaining a cover as a small-town CPA.

He then takes a legitimate job searching for millions of missing dollars at a top-shelf robotics company. As he gets dragged deeper into a far-reaching conspiracy, The Accountant meets a lovely analyst (Anna Kendrick) and will have to fight his own limitations to come out alive. See how cheesy that was? That's how Warner's marketing department is selling the movie, when it's actually much richer and inventive.

Affleck commits to the autism beautifully without overselling or going too broad with the performance. Showing a range I didn't know he was capable of, it's probably the most I've ever liked him onscreen.

His character's blooming relationship with Kendrick is a joy to watch. Every character in the film is given a chance to grow and change, which is rare for something so plot-driven.

Some of the twists and turns are predictable and there's a 10-minute scene of exposition toward the end of the film, but with actors like John Lithgow, J.K. Simmons, Jeffrey Tambor, Jean Smart and Jon Bernthal supporting, it's not a deal breaker. The flaws here might overwhelm a lesser movie, but the whole thing is just so much fun that the film moves past its problems without much fuss.

As soon as the film ended, I wanted a dozen more films set in this universe with these characters. "The Accountant" almost plays like the pilot for a TV show, setting up future arcs and unanswered questions that don't feel like plot holes. The film is flawed and might be too weird for a general audience, but I loved every single minute of it.

"The Accountant"

Dir. Gavin O'Connor

Grade: A-

Now playing at Old Mill Stadium 16 & IMAX

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