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THE ACCOUNTANT

★★★★

A SURPRISING, CRACKING LITTLE THRILLER

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By Daniel Lammin
12th February 2017
There’s nothing more satisfying that stumbling on a surprise when you thought you were expecting a dud. It tends to happen to me at least once a year, often when they look like dumb action films with silly titles. Gavin O’Connor’s ‘The Accountant’ certainly has the latter, though once you’ve been swept up in this tight, clever little thriller, the old-school 70s charm of the name makes a lot more sense. That’s what kind of film ‘The Accountant’ really is: a throwback to those well-plotted bits of action thriller fantasy we rarely get anymore amongst films bogged down with heavy themes and even heaver attitudes.

Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) is a natural maths genius who suffers from a form of autism. He earns a living as an accountant for some of the most dangerous crime organisations in the world, but when he senses the government on his tail, he takes on a legitimate client in a major technology firm. However, as he starts to dig further into their books, he uncovers a dangerous conspiracy that puts him in grave danger, hunted by both the government and by a man even more dangerous.

SWITCH: 'THE ACCOUNTANT' TEASER TRAILER

Full of unexpected twists and turns, and executed with a healthy dose of black humour, ‘The Accountant’ turns out to be far more entertaining than its rather dry description suggests. O’Connor has a keen eye with his direction, balancing the often contrasting tones and somehow managing to make it an unexpectedly moving experience between the terrific action set-pieces. It treats Christian’s autism with a lot of respect, and even though the circumstances are obviously very heightened, the film does go to lengths to show how he functions on a daily basis with his disability. This is all mixed with action and violence that doesn’t hold back, but with its tongue firmly in its cheek. There are great surprises at every turn with this film, and while overall it’s just a bit of entertainment, it fulfils that brief so well that it doesn’t matter at all.

It also features one of the most engaging performances Ben Affleck has given in years. He’s clearly having a ball with the character, not just because of the fun of the plot but in the detail his autism requires. There’s a twinkle in Affleck’s eye that’s been missing for a long time, and even though he barely cracks a smile, he lights up the screen. He’s backed up by a terrific supporting cast, including great work from Anna Kendrick, Jon Bernthal and J.K. Simmons, a stand-out performance from Cynthia Addai-Robinson, and a wonderfully out-of-place John Lithgow.

There are great surprises at every turn with this film, and while overall it’s just a bit of entertainment, it fulfils that brief so well that it doesn’t matter at all.

There’s no doubt that ‘The Accountant’ is disposable entertainment, but it’s such a wild, wonderful ride that this never seems to matter. In fact, it’s a film I’ll probably keep coming back to because of how much I enjoy it. Like ‘John Wick’ and ‘Edge of Tomorrow’, it offers a kind of undiluted thrill ride we just don’t get anymore. The cast is great, the action is sharp, the humour has wit and it moves at a cracking pace from twist to turn. As a piece of pure entertainment, I can’t recommend it enough.

PICTURE & SOUND
‘The Accountant’ is given a handsome 1080p 2.39:1 transfer that captures the classic look of the film, made up of a palette of subdued, cool colours. It sparkles with eye-catching clarity and detail, and high definition revels in the slick visual look the film has been given. However, while the U.S. release features a DTS-HD MA 7.1 track, our release only features a DTS-HD MA 5.1 track. While the film emphases dialogue over a bombastic soundtrack, it’s a tremendous shame that we won’t get the added punch that a 7.1 track would have afforded. It also doesn’t help that there’s no real apparent reason why the track wouldn’t be there.

SPECIAL FEATURES
Roadshow carry over the extras from the U.S. release, a small selection of relatively interesting featurettes. ‘Inside The Man’ (10:38) begins by looking at Ben Affleck’s character specifically, before opening up into a general look at the making of the film. ‘Behavioural Science’ (8:04) expands on the representation of autism on film and how the team behind this film in particular dealt with assuring accuracy. Lastly, ‘The Accountant In Action’ (7:14) takes a closer look at the action sequences and the stunt team.

FAST FACTS
RELEASE DATE: 15/02/2017
RUN TIME: 2h 8m
CAST: Ben Affleck
Anna Kendrick
J.k. Simmons
Jon Bernthal
Jean Smart
Jeffrey Tambor
John Lithgow
DIRECTOR: Gavin O'Connor
WRITER: Bill Dubuque
SCORE: Mark Isham
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