The Accountant

October 16, 2016 by  
Filed under Cody, Reviews

Starring: Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons
Directed by: Gavin O’Connor (“Warrior”)
Written by: Bill Dubuque (“The Judge”)

Ben Affleck has had an unusual career. Lauded for his Oscar-winning screenplay for “Good Will Hunting,” Affleck had a few solid, if not unspectacular roles in films before turning in a series of duds that bottomed out with the back-to-back combo of “Daredevil” and “Gigli.” After taking his licks, and essentially becoming a Hollywood punchline, Affleck made a bold career move: He started directing films. He began with the fantastic “Gone Baby Gone” and eventually won another Oscar as producer for “Argo.” Re-invigorated by his work behind the camera, Affleck started improving in front of it as well. While it may not be the best film he’s been in, “The Accountant” may just be one of the best performances Affleck has given in his career.

As an accountant for some of the most dangerous criminal organizations in the world, Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) does not shy away from danger. As Wolff is brought in to take a look at the books for a robotics company, he and accounting associate Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick) notice some peculiarities. As Wolff uncovers more, he finds himself in the midst of danger and must use his unique skillset to keep him and Dana safe.

A good chunk of “The Accountant” is devoted to an exploration of Christian’s autism, and the film deserves a lot of credit for getting that right. Affleck nails the idiosyncrasies of autism, with elements of both brilliance and social struggles. It’s Affleck’s most well-rounded performance in a while, and perhaps best, he is surprisingly funny in the films lighter moments.

While Affleck’s performance is magnetic, the B and C plotlines of the film (essentially any goings on not involving Affleck) feel so oddly pieced together. Even with their eventual resolution, so much of “The Accountant” lacks structure and feel out of place. What results is a complete waste of acting talent and screen time. Back-to-back Emmy winner in Jeffrey Tambor is essentially given five minutes of backstory context, Simmons is there for pure exposition and Kendrick is there for a lazy romantic plot that not only goes nowhere, but is abandoned for a solid half hour.

But beyond being just a waste of talent, “The Accountant” has a ton of parts that are outright confusing and don’t really add up. The focus is to keep the story moving along, but at some point it is difficult for the audience to continue to care. Somewhere along the later part of the film, Simmons’ character delivers what seems like an excruciatingly long exposition dump that starts to make the picture a little bit more clear. What follows is a series of shrug-worthy twists, ho-hum reveals, and even more clunky exposition. It nearly derails the entire film and is only saved by some well-executed violence.

If you are willing to forgive “The Accountant” for its faults, there is plenty of great acting, intense shootouts, and surprising laughs to sustain its runtime. It’s a really solid Affleck performance and is actually quite gripping in moments. Held up to scrutiny, however, “The Accountant” is unnecessarily complicated, convoluted and lacks a satisfying payoff.

Pride and Glory

October 26, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Edward Norton, Colin Farrell, Jon Voight
Directed by: Gavin O’Connor (“Miracle”)
Written by: Gavin O’Connor (“Tumbleweeds”) and Joe Carnahan (“Narc”)

If “Pride and Glory” were an episode of “Cops,” it would be any one of the shows where a police officer pulls an eightball out of a crackhead’s pocket and the only thing the panicked druggie can say is, “That ain’t mine.” It’s director Gavin O’Connor’s stock answer for the crime-drama genre.

Sure, not all crime-dramas can be as well-acted as “Training Day” or as brutally realistic as “Narc” (written and directed by “P&G” scribe Joe Carnahan), but with “P&G,” Carnahan and O’Connor (“Miracle”) drag the story through such generic plot points and with halfhearted characters, it’s no wonder New Line Cinema decided to shelve the film for more than half a year (it’s original release date was, gasp, March 14).

Playing brother-in-laws in the NYPD, Edward Norton and Colin Farrell can’t be held accountable for “P&G”’s lack of sensibility. In the film, Norton is Ray Tierney, a straight-laced officer who, after two years working in Missing Persons, is pressured by his father (Voight), the Chief of Detectives, to head a task force in search of a cop killer. Farrell is on the other side of the law as Jimmy Eagan, a hard-ass cop who pals around with drug dealers while on the clock. It all makes for a not-so-sweet holiday season at the Tierney household as Ray investigates the murders of four policemen, while Jimmy looks for ways to cover his tracks.

While most of the boys in blue look out for their own, the same can’t be said about Carnahan who dumps some rather stagnant and unintentionally funny dialogue onto the lead actors. This may be the first film of his career where he’s not directing his own script, but responding the same way as the aforementioned crackhead isn’t going to hold up in any court.