Updated: Nov 2, 2018
4K ULTRA HD REVIEW / FRAME SHOTS
4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD copy, 2016, R for strong violence and profanity throughout; streaming via Amazon Video, FandangoNOW (4K), Google Play, iTunes (4K) Vudu (4K), YouTube
Best extra: "Behavioral Science"
2016 GAVE US plenty of action movies – mostly in the realm of superhero and science fiction. "The Accountant," starring Ben Affleck, promised similar diversion: explosive stunts and blazing guns, but delivered much more.
Mystery, heart and suspense from a cast of outstanding actors directed by Gavin O'Connor of "Warrior" and the under-appreciated "Jane Got a Gun," from a script by Bill Dubuque of "The Judge."
Affleck, who appeared as Bruce Wayne/Batman in 2016's "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice," plays Christian Wolff, math savant and high-functioning autistic. What a departure – and another authentic portrayal. Wolff is a gifted accountant in a Plainfield, Illinois, strip mall. He demonstrates his good will in an early scene by helping an elderly couple out of a tax-jam that would take their home. He's then called in to investigate the books of a successful prosthetics company about to go public. An accounting clerk played by Anna Kendrick has discovered an inconsistency; it looks like money is being siphoned out of the business.
We quickly learn Wolff's new job is a ploy to throw others off his more lucrative work as financial advisor/investigator to drug cartels and other big time crooks. Meanwhile, a team of FBI forensic accountants led by senior Treasury agent Ray King, played by J.K. Simmons, is on the trail of the mystery accountant. We also learn more, in flashback, about Wolff's unique upbringing by his U.S. Army officer father (Robert C. Treveiler).
Math has rarely been this fascinating.
Revealing more would be an injustice, one in which the Accountant should hold us accountable. This is excellent suspense story-telling with direction that maintains pace and keeps us involved throughout the two-hour run. (Not an easy feat.) Actors Jeffrey Tambor, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Jon Bernthal, John Lithgow and Jean Smart also bring their talents on board.
Three bonus features explore the film. Look for cast and creator interviews and a breakdown of stunts and effects in "Inside the Man" and "The Accountant in Action." "Behavioral Science" features Laurie Stephens, Ph.D. and director of clinical services for Education Spectrum. Stephens, Affleck and O'Connor discuss the challenges of creating and portraying a realistic autistic character.
Visually this new 4K release from Warner Bros. is an odd one. First, director O'Connor and his cinematographer Seamus McGarvey, twice nominated for Oscars ("Anna Karenina," "Atonement"), used old school Super 35, a film format commonly used during the 1980s through the early 2000s. It gave directors a non-anamorphic super widescreen aspect ratio (2.35:1) without losing much horizontal framing when transferred to VHS tape. Plus, there's a slight overall reduction of resolution and sharpness. Natural cinematic film grain is evident throughout and never gets out of control.
Secondly, "The Accountant" was mastered in 2K during the editing phase, then upconverted for the 4K presentation. Another missed opportunity for the highest level of resolution. There's no sign of VFX forcing a 2K master.
Visuals are heavy on earth tones – browns and blues – with a slight reduction of saturation. The 4K/HDR does a slightly better job of keeping the hues in check and creating a deeper black level, providing more onscreen pop – especially in the shadows during a scene inside a dark parking garage where Jon Bernthal's character visits a crooked businessman. The resolution difference between the 4K and Blu-ray is minimal, with a slight edge to the 4K.
Both the 4K and Blu-ray are only presented in the standard DTS-HD eight channel soundtrack, with no height expansion for Atmos speakers. Except for gunshot effects, this one is mostly dialogue driven pushing out from the center speaker.
It isn't often an actioner brings this much complexity to a story and its characters, but "The Accountant" delivers on all fronts. This is the kind of film you'll want to watch again – and right away.
— Kay Reynolds and Bill Kelley III, High-def Watch producer