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 on October 14, 2016 by Warner Bros. Pictures. The film received mixed reviews from critics and grossed $155 million worldwide. A sequel is currently in development.
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As a child, Chris Wolff is diagnosed with a high-functioning form of autism and offered an opportunity to live at Harbor Neuroscience Institute in New Hampshire. Chris works on a puzzle while his parents meet with the director and nearly explodes when the last piece is missing, until another girl, Justine, wordlessly hands it to him. Chris' father declines the offer of a sensory friendly environment, believing that Chris must overcome the hardships inherent in his condition. Overwhelmed, Chris' mother abandons him, his younger brother Braxton, and their overbearing father, an army officer in Psychological Operations. Their father embarks on a brutal regimen of stoicism and martial arts training for both brothers.
In the present, Chris works as a forensic accountant unmasking insider financial deceptions, often for criminal and terrorist enterprises. His clients are brokered over the phone by the Voice, an unidentified woman who calls Chris "Dreamboat". Chris keeps a weapons cache in a vintage Airstream locked in a storage unit, containing rare paintings and drawers filled with rare comics, gold and cash. At his storefront office in Illinois, Chris helps a local farmer with his tax return, and the man invites Chris to fish on his property. Chris replies that he likes to shoot.
Ray King, the director of FinCEN, is pursuing Chris, who is known by the alias "The Accountant". King blackmails data analyst Marybeth Medina, threatening to reveal her sealed juvenile crime records and destroy her career, to help him locate The Accountant. King's leads include Chris' cover names, recordings from his hit on 9 members of the Gambino crime family, and some vague photos.
Chris is called to audit Living Robotics Corporation after the company's founder and CEO, Lamar Blackburn and his sister Rita, learn of discrepancies from their in-house accountants, Dana Cummings. At their first meeting the CFO Ed Chilton is dismissive and indignant. The next day, Chris is impressed by Dana's acumen after she works all night to organize the records for his audit. Chris bumps into Dana at lunch and they start to connect, and when Dana makes a backhanded statement about the painting Dogs Playing Poker, Chris says it's funny because it's incongruous. He works through the night and tells Rita in the morning that over $61 million has been embezzled from the company, but refuses to speculate on the identity of the culprit. That night, Ed, who is diabetic, is forced by a hitman to commit suicide from an insulin overdose. As a result, Lamar dismisses Chris and pays off his contract, claiming Ed's death was a suicide, leaving Chris very distraught because he is not allowed to finish the audit.
Medina isolates Chris' voice from the recording of the Gambino hit, hearing him repeating the nursery rhyme Solomon Grundy. The techs tell her his cadence is reminiscent of those with autism, and Chris' aliases are famed mathematicians, including Lou (Lewis) Carroll, Carl Gauss, and his current identity, Chris Wolff. Using IRS records, the trail leads her to his storefront office in a Plainfield, Illinois, where his partnership in neighbiring businesses in the small strip-mall allow him to launder cash while making large donations to the Harbor Neuroscience Institute.
After Ed's suicide, Chris goes to the farm to shoot. A team of killers then shows up to take out Chris and he quickly dispatches them all. Before getting killed, the last assassin reveals that Dana is the next target. Rather than retrieving the Airstream before changing locations and identities as instructed by the Voice, he goes to Dana's apartment, burning through a second team of killers before taking her with him to the storage unit. Refusing to wait outside the trailer, Dana enters and discovers his cache of guns, gold and valuables before being caught by Chris. She recognizes the Jackson Pollock painting as an original and Chris admits it was a form of payment. He takes her to a fancy hotel, and as they talk he realizes that the embezzlement at Living Robotics was a scheme like Crazy Eddie's. When he goes to confront Rita he finds her dead, exposing Lamar as the mastermind.
The FBI agents scour Chris' home, finding an extensive security system and high-powered firearms. Privately, King explains to Medina that Chris went to Leavenworth after a brawl at his estranged mother's funeral, where his father was killed protecting Chris. In prison, he was mentored into accounting by Francis Silverberg (Jeffrey Tambor), a Gambino family accountant turned FBI informant. Silverberg was brutally killed by the Gambinos after he was released, and King was staking out the building when Chris came for his revenge. Chris gets the drop on King but lets him go after asking if King he was a good father. King then starts getting information from the Voice, and rises to become director. King tells Medina someone has to take over when he retires before the phone rings, and the Voice begins to instruct Medina.
Chris attacks Lamar's mansion and kills the mercenary guards led by the hitman. During the shootout, the hitman hears Chris repeating the nursery rhyme and recognizes his brother. Braxton attacks Chris, blaming him for their father's death. In a brief detente in the fight Lamar arrogantly interrupts, and Chris shoots him on the spot, to Braxton's astonishment. Chris amicably agrees to meet Braxton in a week, saying he will find him.
At the Harbor Neuroscience Institute, the current director is the father of the adult Justine, who Chris met as a child. Justine uses a state-of-the-art computer to say "Hello, Dreamboat" to a young boy in the Voice that talks to Chris. Chris says farewell to Dana by having the painting Dogs Playing Poker, A Friend in Need, delivered to her apartment. Under the Dogs Playing Poker, Dana finds the Jackson Pollock painting she saw in Chris' trailer. Chris is last seen driving over a bridge 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 Ray King
- Jon Bernthal as Brax
- Jake Presley as Young Brax
- 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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