My only opportunity to see Gavin O’Connor‘s The Accountant pre-opening was last Wednesday’s Manhattan all-media screening. I blew that off in order to have dinner with Jett in a Bed-Stuy Mexican restaurant. So I saw it last night at the Grove. But within an hour I was ready to leave. Give me credit for sticking it out until the 90-minute mark.
I was moderately intrigued by the autistic assassin idea, but the film is only interested in using that concept to sell a same-old-malarkey action franchise about another lethal, emotionally remote action hero who eliminates bad guys like he’s channel-surfing or, you know, doing what comes naturally. Because he’s a brawny, stealthy, quietly charismatic killing machine of few words…zzzzzz.
Ben Affleck‘s Christian Wolff may be an emotionally remote math wiz, but he’s still Bruce Wayne mixed with John Wick plus (as noted by Atlantic critic Chris Orr) Christian Bale’s Michael Burry character in The Big Short. Who received martial arts training as a child from a robe-wearing, bald-headed Asian instructor…Jesus! That’s when I decided to leave early. If an action film attempting to launch a franchise (and that’s really the basic game here, an origin story that might launch three or four Christian Wolff flicks) can’t create a backstory without resorting to fucking martial-arts training at a formative age, I for one won’t participate.
On top of which I really couldn’t figure out some of the plot teasings, and I really didn’t want to make the effort. I paid money to see this thing and now I have to screw my brain down and work to figure it out? Fuck that. On top of which I can never understand much of what Anna Kendrick is saying with her thin little pipsqueak vocal fry. (Everything she says is a variation on the old Minnie Mouse helium voice…beep-beepity-beep-beep.) On top of which I felt like an idiot for having paid to see this, sitting there in the front row with my fucking small popcorn and large bottle of Dasani water.
Plus The Accountant has no sense of moral order or clarity or balance. Does anyone in this film breathe ordinary oxygen? Every character except Kendrick’s is fairly full of it, side-stepping, double-dealing, lying, misrepresenting, living by some expedient ethical code, a killer or an enabler of same. Or greedy. On top of which I don’t believe that a Treasury Department employee with a soiled past (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) would have been hired in the first place without her background being discovered. Don’t even start with that shit.
I didn’t like or care the least about anyone except Wolff, and that’s because he’s the pre-ordained heavy-cat hero with the Airstream mobile home with multiple passports, gold bars and hundreds of thousands in international currency stacked in neat little piles inside a drawer.
The movie is saying the following: “You guys in the audience…you too are closed off and slightly vulnerable, but you’re no one to trifle with. That’s why we created Christian Wolff…a hero for all of the moviegoers who want the same old crap with a different design as well as a hero for all those autistic Asperger types out there. Same old brown milkshake. If push came to shove you too would be a relatively sympathetic assassin with a Jackson Pollack painting on the ceiling of your mobile-home bedroom. And you would definitely be extra safe and sound with all that high-powered weaponry in the rear of the Airstream, and if you had to lam it you could always scoop up some of that cash and zoom off to Zurich or Belgrade or Hanoi.
“So fuck you, fuck all franchises, fuck everything…sit there, enjoy our bullshit movie, eat your fucking popcorn and say nice things about us on Twitter.”
What has America’s response been since last Friday? $27,710,273. All in including foreign, The Accountant will be a hit. And the sequel will earn even more.