A hit you can count on

The Accountant 

In this ground-breaking film, a man with autism not only leads a successful life as an accountant, but is also an expert martial arts fighter and has an arsenal of weapons James Bond would envy.

The fact that he looks like Ben Affleck is just gravy.

The Accountant is a fast-paced film with enough plot twists and flash backs to keep discerning movie goers engaged and enough head shots to keep even the most avid Call of Duty player in awe.

The film opens with an FBI stakeout of a Gambino crime family hideout where one man has gone on a killing spree leaving behind half a dozen dead thugs.

We don’t see who is involved, but the scene will be repeated a few times throughout the film, each time with added detail and is pivotal to the plot.

The next scene shows young Chris (Seth Lee – It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia TV) speedily assembling a jigsaw puzzle in a private home for disabled children.

His parents talk with the director of the facility who believes they might be able to help their son who struggles with uncontrollable rage and outbursts.

Young Chris assembles the 500-piece puzzle in minutes, but experiences an out-of-control panic attack when he can’t find the one missing piece that has fallen on the floor.

At the end of the scene, we find out the puzzle was upside down the entire time he was putting it together. He is clearly gifted.

Chris’s father, a covert army operative, declines any help the facility can give, believing that all Chris needs is discipline.

Unable to take the chaos at home any longer and frustrated that they will not get the help they need, Chris’s mother abandons the family.

Chris and his brother are carted off to multiple countries as they grow up and their father provides them with extensive martial arts and weaponry training.

Grown up, Chris makes his living as an accountant. By day, he is a mild-mannered accountant working in a dingy strip mall accounting firm ZZZ Accounting.

He lives alone in a very ordinary and Spartan home, but he has another hidden and much more exotic side.

His alter ego travels the world “uncooking” the books for some of the largest criminals on the world’s Most Wanted lists. Think Batman, but with a tricked-out Airstream trailer instead of a Batcave.

Enter Ray King (J. K. Simmons - Whiplash), the ruthless, but soon-to-retire director of the Treasury Department’s Criminal Investigations Division.

He is uncovering Chris’s connection to the criminals he works for and wants him found.

Aware that the Treasury Department is getting wise to him, Chris decides to take on a legitimate client: Living Robotics, which specializes in constructing prosthetic limbs.

John Lithgow has a relatively small cameo, but is a pivotal character and plays it well.

It is at Living Robotics that Chris meets the young and unassuming Dana Cummings, (Anna Kendrick – Pitch Perfect), the junior accountant who first uncovered the discrepancy that has led to the internal audit.

Sparks fly between them in a shy and awkward way and it almost looks like the grim-faced Chris might actually crack a smile or get a kiss.

In what feels like a scene from A Beautiful Mind, he solves the accounting mystery by pulling an “all nighter” and sorting through 15 years of accounting books.

The end result is an entire conference room with numbers written on every available hard surface in either a black or red dry erase marker.

Who’d a thought numbers could be so sexy?

Soon after disclosing his success to the company’s management, senior executives start dropping like flies and he soon finds out that not only is his life in danger, but Dana’s is as well.

Things have now gotten personal and the film turns into a break neck chase and revenge film with a few twists at the end that will make you rethink everything you saw at the beginning of the film.

Ben Affleck is entirely believable as Chris. Because his character does not convey emotion in a traditional way, it is harder, as an audience, to become emotionally involved in his story, yet he still manages to draw us in.

Yes, we become fond of the cold-blooded killer.

Kendrick is lovely as Cummings. Her wide-eyed innocence is in sharp contrast to Chris’s world-weary character. The role isn’t exactly a stretch for her, but she gets the job done and even proves herself to be no pushover for the bad guys.

Jon Bernthal (Wolf of Wall Street) stands out as the hitman Brax and gives the movie one of its most intriguing characters. Brax is unpredictable and enigmatic when he’s threatening his targets. We can’t take our eyes off of him.

There isn’t a great deal for Simmons to do in his role of King, but this competent actor is committed and authentic and brings the role just the right edge of menace.

Director Gavin O’Connor (Warrior) has done a fine job keeping the action moving yet providing us with breaks in said action so we can catch our collective breath. It’s a well shot and well paced movie.

At the beginning of the film, the parents ask if their son could ever have a normal life and the clinician responds, “define normal.”

It is clear that Chris has found a way to build a life through his gifts. It might not be a traditional life, but it is his to live nonetheless.

I give this film 4 out of 5 hearts.

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About the Author

Kim Foreman-Rhindress is a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City and London Western Conservatory of music for piano and voice. 

Kim has been performing in theatre and film for over 30 years in Canada, NYC, Palm Beach, Los Angeles, and the Netherlands. She has written several plays which have been produced in Canada and the U.S., and is the founder of Kelowna Voice Lab - helping people find their voice, be it singing or acting. 

A working musician, she performs regularly in Kelowna with her husband, Jim Rhindress, in an acoustic duo Smitten, and with her vintage trio Kitsch 'n Sync.  

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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