Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Accountant (2016) – Trying to be Smart

Copyright: Warner Bros. Pictures
Nothing is too much when it comes to this film, which is why it is so loaded with different snippets of ideas and narrative threads. The plot itself is relatively straightforward – Christian Wolff, a forensic accountant that is brilliant and a high-functioning autistic is hired by a tech company that wants to understand where their money is going. However, the company does not know Christian is used to working for all types of dangerous organizations, from terrorists to crime syndicates.

At the same time, two other factions are also working on this case, but only one of them is a national agency. The other group is represented by mercenaries/hit men who want to resolve the problem, no matter it might turn out to be by leaving a pile of dead bodies in their wake.

Using a combination of fast-paced action and flashbacks that showcase the childhood of a mentally and emotionally challenged boy and his brother, The Accountant is a movie that immediately seems “smart”. It hops around the plot with these backstory building blocks, combining a standard thriller with the idea of a mystery film.  Who are the boys and which one, if any, is Christian?

Other elements of the backstory are also presented through his strange memento moments and all do wonders as fragments of a broader film’s narrative. However, all of this also competes for the viewers’ attention when it comes to the present mystery of the missing money and the hailstorm of problems that will soon be upon everyone’s heads.

Yet, in spite of this, there is a sour feel to the film. The best way to describe it is to point towards Interstellar and the way it (although on a much larger scale) tried to sell itself as a lot smarter and profound than it really was. Here as well, there is that unmistakable feeling of the authors desperately trying to make everyone not think their film is plain by any measure. It is as if everyone had to come out of the theater thinking “that was some deep yet very gunfire-and-action laden experience”. Here the mandatory runtime of over 120 minutes is also present, even though 100 minutes would do perfectly.

Now, while there are plenty of witty things in the film, it’s by no means a thriller which propagates any kind of message or deeper idea. It’s fun but not as smart as it tries to be, which is an ambition that is even further decimated by Anna Kendrick playing her cut yet confused character she did so many times before.

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