The Accountant (2016 film)
The Accountant is a 2016 American crime thriller film directed by Gavin O'Connor, written by Bill Dubuque and starring Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J. K. Simmons, Jon Bernthal, Jeffrey Tambor, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, and John Lithgow. The storyline follows a small-town Illinois certified public accountant with high-functioning autism who actually makes his living uncooking the books of dangerous criminal organizations around the world that are experiencing internal embezzlement.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Gavin O'Connor|
|Written by||Bill Dubuque|
|Music by||Mark Isham|
|Edited by||Richard Pearson|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Box office||$155.2 million|
The Accountant premiered in Los Angeles on October 10, 2016, and was theatrically released in the United States by Warner Bros. Pictures on October 14, 2016. The film received mixed reviews from critics and grossed $155 million worldwide. A sequel is currently in development.
As a child, Christian Wolff (Affleck) is diagnosed with a high-functioning form of autism at Harbor Neuroscience, where he meets the doctor's daughter, Justine. Chris's father declines the offer for his son to stay at a sensory friendly environment, believing that Chris must overcome the hardships inherent in his condition, but Chris's overwhelmed mother abandons their family. Afraid that others will exploit his son, Chris's father—a US Army PSYOP officer—begins a brutal regimen of stoicism and martial arts training for both him and his brother, Braxton.
In the present, Chris works as a forensic accountant from a small strip mall office in Plainfield, Illinois. He unmasks insider financial deceptions, often for criminal and terrorist enterprises. Chris's clients interact with Chris through the Voice, an unidentified woman who calls him "Dreamboat". He exposes himself to loud music and flashing lights while abusing his own shinbone on a daily basis to inure himself to sensory overload.
Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCen) Director Ray King pursues Chris, known to them as "the Accountant". King recruits Treasury data analyst Marybeth Medina to help him locate the Accountant. Her leads include Chris's cover names, a recording from his killing of nine members of the Gambino crime family, and some photos.
Chris is hired to audit Living Robotics after the company's founder and CEO, Lamar Blackburn (Lithgow) and his sister Rita, learn of discrepancies from in-house accountant Dana Cummings (Kendrick). Chris finds that over $61 million has been embezzled from the company. CFO Ed Chilton, who is diabetic, is forced by a hitman to commit suicide from an insulin overdose. Lamar dismisses Chris, claiming Chilton killed himself because of the investigation of the embezzlement, leaving Chris very distraught because he cannot finish the audit.
Medina isolates Chris's voice from the recording of the Gambino killing, hearing him repeating the nursery rhyme Solomon Grundy. She learns that his cadence is reminiscent of those with autism, and that Chris's aliases are famed mathematicians, including his current identity, Christian Wolff. Using IRS records, she finds his Illinois office.
Assassins fail to kill Chris; the last reveals that Dana is the next target. Chris saves her before taking her to his storage unit, containing an Airstream Panamerica with artwork and other valuables, which he uses to quickly flee in when necessary. As they talk, he realizes that the embezzlement at Living Robotics is a scheme like Crazy Eddie's; money stolen from the company is returned to it, boosting profits and increasing the company's valuation as it prepares for an IPO. When Chris goes to confront Rita he finds her dead, exposing Lamar as the embezzler.
Government agents search Chris's heavily secured home. King explains to Medina that Chris was imprisoned at Leavenworth because of a fight at his estranged mother's funeral, where his father was killed protecting Chris. He learned accounting from Francis Silverberg, a Gambino family accountant who became an FBI informant. King was Silverberg's handler, but his inaction led to the informant being brutally killed; King was staking out the Gambinos when Chris came to avenge his mentor. Chris could have killed King, but let him go after asking if he was a good father. King began getting information from the Voice when criminals violated Chris's moral code, and King became director of FinCen. King tells Medina someone has to take over when he retires. The phone rings, and the Voice tells Medina about Living Robotics.
Chris goes to Lamar's mansion, where the hitman and his men await. During the battle, the hitman recognizes Chris repeating the nursery rhyme and reveals that he is Chris's brother Braxton; they have not seen each other since Chris's imprisonment. Braxton attacks Chris, as he is both resentful over his brother's estrangement from him and blames him for their father's death. During a pause in their fight Lamar arrogantly interrupts; Chris shoots him, ending the battle. Chris amicably agrees to meet Braxton in a week, saying he will find him.
As another set of parents visits Harbor Neuroscience with their child, the boy meets Justine, still a patient there; she is the Voice, and Chris funds the center with his bookkeeping profits. Dana receives a Jackson Pollock painting she saw in the trailer, as Chris drives out of town with the Airstream in tow.
- Ben Affleck as Christian "Chris" Wolff
- Seth Lee as Young Chris
- Anna Kendrick as Dana Cummings
- J. K. Simmons as Raymond "Ray" King
- Jon Bernthal as Braxton
- Jake Presley as Young Braxton
- Jeffrey Tambor as Francis Silverberg
- Cynthia Addai-Robinson as Marybeth Medina
- John Lithgow as Lamar Blackburn
- Jean Smart as Rita Blackburn
- Andy Umberger as Ed Chilton
- Alison Wright as Justine
- Izzy Fenech as Young Justine
- Robert C. Treveiler as Chris' father
- Mary Kraft as Chris' mother
- Gary Basaraba as Don
On November 12, 2014, Variety reported that Anna Kendrick was in early talks to co-star in the film, alongside Affleck. Later that day, J. K. Simmons was also announced as being in talks to join the cast. On November 14, 2014, Jon Bernthal was also in talks. On January 6, 2015, Variety reported that Cynthia Addai-Robinson was added to the cast. On January 14, 2015, Jeffrey Tambor and John Lithgow were added to the cast of the film. Lithgow had previously appeared in another thriller about autism, Silent Fall (1994).
Filming began on January 19, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. On March 16–20, filming was taking place at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The film ends with the Accountant driving on Bethany Bridge over Lake Allatoona, Georgia.
The Accountant grossed $86.3 million in the United States and Canada and $68.9 million in other countries for a worldwide total of $155.2 million, against a production budget of $44 million.
The Accountant was released alongside Max Steel and Kevin Hart: What Now?, and was expected to gross $20–25 million from 3,332 theaters in its opening weekend, although the studio was projecting a conservative $15 million opening. The film made $1.35 million from its Thursday night previews, more than Affleck's Gone Girl ($1.2 million) in 2014. It grossed $9.1 million on its first day and $24.7 million in its opening weekend, finishing first at the box office and was the second highest-debut for a thriller of Affleck's career, behind Gone Girl ($37.5 million). In its second weekend, the film grossed $13.6 million (a drop of 44.8%), finishing 4th at the box office.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 52% based on 240 reviews, with an average rating of 5.7/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The Accountant writes off a committed performance from Ben Affleck, leaving viewers with a scattershot action thriller beset by an array of ill-advised deductions." On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating, the film has a score of 51 out of 100, based on 45 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.
Vince Mancini of Uproxx gave the film a positive review, writing, "It’s transparent in its attempt both to pimp a future franchise and give autistic kids their own superhero. There’s a genuine sweetness to the latter that converts me on the former. Headshots, math problems, and pained social interactions? Sign me up. Of the two movies Ben Affleck has been in so far this year, The Accountant and Batman V Superman, The Accountant has by far the most franchise potential." Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 3.5 out of 4 stars, saying: "Madness abounds in The Accountant, an intense, intricate, darkly amusing and action-infused thriller that doesn’t always add up but who cares, it’s BIG FUN."
Richard Brody of The New Yorker panned the film, stating: "This thrill-free thriller...piles up plotlines like an overbuilt house of cards that comes crashing down at the first well-earned guffaw of ridicule."
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipient(s)||Result||Ref(s)|
|Jupiter Awards||March 29, 2017||Best International Film||The Accountant||Nominated|||
|Best International Actor||Ben Affleck||Nominated|
|Saturn Awards||June 28, 2017||Best Thriller Film||The Accountant||Nominated|||
In June 2017, it was announced Warner Bros. was developing a sequel, with Affleck, Dubuque and O’Connor all scheduled to return.
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