Screening Room: ‘The Accountant’


In The Accountant, Ben Affleck puts on glasses and his serious face to play … an accountant … who’s not really just an accountant. See? It’s like one of those twist things.

Directed by Gavin O’Connor (Warrior), The Accountant opens this week wide. My review is at Film Journal International:

In what could serve as the year’s most preposterous mainstream release, Affleck plays Christian Wolff, an accountant who works out of a strip mall in downstate Illinois, finding deductions for local farmers. Or does he? We know that he’s a high-functioning autistic after an opening scene with a child whose tics and inability to deal with small talk or inconsistency seem remarkably like Affleck’s dour-faced pocket-protector of a glowering adult. We also know that he’s more than he claims to be, after being fed into a parallel storyline in which Treasury Department honcho Ray King (J.K. Simmons) details Agent Medina (Cynthia Addai-Robinson), easily cowed due to her secret dark past, to uncover the identity of a mysterious man who has been doing forensic accounting for everyone from terrorists to cartels…

Here’s the trailer:

Screening Room: Review Roundup

Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck wonder what 'Runner Runner' means
Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck wonder what ‘Runner Runner’ means

With awards season just around the corner, studios big and small are finishing their late summer/early fall product dump. Here’s a quick rundown of reviews I’ve written on some other releases that have mostly gone unnoticed:

Runner Runner — Justin Timberlake plays Princeton math geek who goes to Costa Rica to be seduced into Ben Affleck’s sinister, high-stakes world of online gambling. Ridiculous as it sounds. Review here.

Bounty Killer — A post-apocalyptic, Mad Max knock-off with tongue planted firmly in cheek. C+ for effort; not as funny as it thinks it is. Review here.

Symphony of the Soil — Ever wonder what the difference is between soil and dirt? No? Review here.

The Dirties — Intriguing faux-documentary story about a kid making a movie about taking revenge on the school bullies. Starts off as gimmick, turns into uncomfortably close-to-home comment on violent media saturation. Worth seeking out. Review here.

New in Theaters: ‘To the Wonder’

Olga Kurylenko and Ben Affleck grin and bear it

TO-THE-WONDER-PosterWhen Terence Malick visited The Tree of Life on the world, it was something of a revelation. Whether viewers found it masterful and meaningful or grandiose and just plain silly, it left an impression. His newest, To the Wonder—in which Ben Affleck wanders around France and Oklahoma looking almost as lost as his female co-starsdraws from the same themes and stylistic template but to much lesser effect.

To the Wonder opens this week in limited release. My full review is at Film Journal International.

The trailer is here: