Rated R

128 Minutes

Released October 14th

 

At last here is an original film with an unusual premise – not a rehash of an old movie or a sequel to an existing cinematic success.  I believe that not everyone will enjoy this film.  Many will find it uncomfortable. I did enjoy it, very much – however I had personal reasons for identifying with the lead character.  When I was about six years old I used to carry in my pocket little folded up pages of multiplication tables that I would add to in tiny printed numerals whenever the mood struck me.  I was not solving complex math algorithms …yet the process of doing the tables gave me comfort, as if I had control of something in life.  Perhaps there are other reasons that people more “normal” than myself will enjoy this edge-of-your-seat psychological and social mystery thriller.  For one, this is a very well crafted piece of cinema…and I believe that the role of “Chris Wolff” was the role Ben Affleck was born to play.

There are a host of fascinatingly flawed characters populating this movie.  Their idiosyncrasies drive the action…and drive it at breakneck speed.  There is a key scene at the beginning of the story, of a jigsaw puzzle with a missing piece.  The story itself becomes the puzzle, the intense motivation at its heart being the placement of missing pieces where they belong.  The narrative becomes a math equation, which is also of the main themes:  if you add “x” to “y” and divide by “z”, what is the answer?  Or, if you add a surprise ingredient to a cake recipe – what will come out of the oven?  This story is not a dose of reality but rather a “what if” – the “what if” world that is created, the theorems that are mounted, are fascinating.  Through it all runs a thread of morality – perhaps warped, yet one that underscores the action.

Director Gavin O’Connor has done a great job keeping a balance with such an explosive story.  Writer Bill Dubuque seems to innately understand the mix of psychological traits that drives each of his characters.  A relatively new screenwriter, everything he has written has been praised (he wrote the screenplay for the acclaimed film The Judge).  Dubuque comes from the world of executive recruiting, where your career can be made or broken based on your understanding of your candidates’ and your clients’ motivations…another personal connection – I spent 10 years as an executive recruiter.  I believe Dubuque should receive a nomination for this work.  Irish cinematographer Seamus McGarvey and production designer Keith P. Cunningham have created moods with very simple sets, which convey vivid, simple emotional landscapes in the background to allow the action to be front and center.

So, back to Affleck – he is so good at his portrayal of the high functioning autistic Chris, that it seems like he’s not really acting.  Rounding out the excellent ensemble cast are Anna Kendrick, J K Simmons, Jon Bernthal, Jeffrey Tambor, Cynthia Addal-Robinson, John Lithgow and Robert C. Treveller, among many other fine actors.

The Accountant is not a tidy package.  It will seem confusing to many, and there are loose ends left unresolved.  However that’s the way life is.  The body count – is all part of the immense and colorful mural of personalities that is painted on the canvas of the story.

 

Kathryn Whitney Boole has spent most of her life in the entertainment industry, which is the backdrop for remarkable adventures with extraordinary people.  She is a Talent Manager with Studio Talent Group in Santa Monica. kboole@gmail.com. For previously published reviews see https://kwboole.wordpress.com