Tag Archives: ben affleck

‘The Account’ Fun and Thrilling Shoot-em-up

The_Accountant_(2016_film)First Sam Rockwell in “Mr. Right” and now Ben Affleck in this; Anna Kendrick really has a thing for falling for men who like to shoot people.


“The Accountant” stars Ben Affleck as an autistic certified public accountant who cooks the books for mobsters and drug dealers. Kendrick, J. K. Simmons, Jon Bernthal, Jeffrey Tambor and John Lithgow also star as Gavin O’Connor directs.


I had wanted to see this for a while, mostly just because Ben Affleck is one of the three actors whom I will pay to see in anything (the other two being Leonardo DiCaprio and Seth Rogen; quite the contrast, I know). The trailer intrigued me further, although as my friend and I joked for the past several months, the commercials really don’t give a coherent description of what the film was actually about. But after finally seeing “The Accountant” I am strongly suggesting you do the same, as it is a very fun, mostly engaging film that is above all else, original.


Affleck played dumb second fiddle to Matt Damon’s math genius Will Hunting in 1997, and Damon went on to star in his “Jason Bourne” films. While Affleck wins at life for now being (the best ever) Batman, he decided while on a break spandex films he would make up for lost time and finally get to be both the math genius and the gun-toting badass all at once.


Affleck’s Christian Wolff is autistic, but he is portrayed in such a nuanced way that even though that is arguably his defining trait, it isn’t what we think about when we watch him onscreen. His Wolff is awkwardly funny, acknowledging other people’s tones and reactions out loud, often to their chagrin. We are shown flashbacks throughout the film that fill in the blanks about his past and how he got to where he is, and while some are pointless filler, others are interesting and develop depth.


Most of this is thanks to a relatively fun script from Bill Dubuque (who co-wrote “The Judge”). The script landed on the Black List a few years back (the record of best unproduced screenplays) and in interviews all the cast praised it, and for the most part it is easy to see why. Each character, even those simply here as plot devices (read: Anna Kendrick’s pointless but dorkably charming Dana) get fleshed out and feel like people, and each gets a scene to give fans of their work something to smile about. Arguably my favorite non-Affleck character was Jon Bernthal’s Brax, an assassin with a dark sense of humor. He is charming, intimidating and just oozes cool, and I just wish he had more scenes.


Everything was going great and for the first hour I really thought this had potential to be the best film of the year; but then things slow down. The most damning sequence is a (no lie) 20 minute exposition segment where J. K. Simmons’ government agent (in his obligatory “one last case before retirement”) reads a laundry list of things Affleck has done and how he became The Accountant. It is interesting at first but then gets tedious and by the end you’re confused why they didn’t just include these scenes as part of the film, not as flashbacks and montages.


The end shootout is also nothing to write home about, especially when the isolated, smaller action sequence sprinkled throughout the rest of the film were so impactful and well shot.


“The Accountant” dares you to take it seriously while at the same time knowing not to do so to itself. It has a surprising amount of laughs (some of which had the audience laughing riotously) and enough accounting and book cooking to be interesting without making you start to head bob. I was a-counting (huh?!) on Ben Affleck to come through in the clutch and he and the rest of the cast delivered a film that is smart, fun and, if I do say so myself, one of 2016’s best.


Critics Rating: 8/10

Warner Bros.

Warner Bros.

‘Gone Girl’ Powerfully Acted, Capably Executed Thriller

Gone_Girl_Poster                Do you smell that? It’s the smell of Oscar Season returning to grace us with its presence, and it is brought upon by director David Fincher’s newest film, “Gone Girl”.

On the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick (Ben Affleck) arrives home to find his house in shambles and his wife (Rosamund Pike) missing. When the media begins to put the spotlight on him, the police and American public start to wonder if Nick is an innocent victim, or a killer? Neil Patrick Harris and Tyler Perry also star.

It is hard to say why “Gone Girl” is a good film without spoiling anything. In fact it is hard to really talk at all about this film without giving away one of its many twists. But it’s my job, so here we go.

The always reliable David Fincher, who directed films ranging cult classics “Fight Club” and “Se7en” to the fantastic “Social Network” and American version of “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”, directs “Gone Girl” in such a stepped-back, impartial way that at times you forget you are watching a movie. It is almost like you are simply watching events unfold, and you do not know who to trust.

Gillian Flynn, who wrote the novel on which the film is based, as well as penned the screenplay for the movie, has such a way with words that she is able to work in moments of dark humor that just feel natural. Sometimes in movies characters are deadly serious all the time and it almost takes you out of the film, but never with “Gone Girl”. It makes sure to have a little strategically placed bits of humor or lightheartedness just when a moment may be getting too serious or stale.

If you hear anything about the film, it will likely be one of two things: Rosamund Pike’s performance, or the twists. This film has more twists than a pastry from Cinnabon. At first they are small things, like the police finding a clue, but as the film goes on, they get more and more elaborate and hit harder and harder, until the ultimate punch to the stomach in the film’s final moments.

As for Pike, there is so much that could be said but I’ll keep it brief. As she narrates the film via her diary passages and flashbacks, we see at first the fairytale marriage that she and Affleck have, but then how they begin to become more and more distant, until finally she begins to fear her own husband. It is a multi-layered performance that is sure to earn her award talk.

Now as much as the film wants to front itself as a brilliant Oscar contender, there are some glaring flaws. The first act of the film, when police are collecting initial clues and samples and Affleck is doing interviews, can drag a little, as we aren’t really learning anything new or earth shattering, but still are sitting through it all. It is a little like watching a behind-the-scenes, paperwork-only edition of “Law and Order”, just with more awkward pacing. The film may also leave some viewers, including myself, craving a better delivery of the climax.

“Gone Girl” is a perfectly cast, capably directed film that just suffers from some narrative and pacing issues, as well as a possible weak finale. That being said, it is an engrossing, dark and intelligent, and may leave your brain hurting when the credits start to roll. Is “Gone Girl” as entertaining or memorable as it wants to be? No. But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t come close.

Critics Rating: 7/10