Updated: Aug 3
4K ULTRA HD REVIEW / HDR FRAME SHOTS
Ben Affleck plays Christian Wolff an autistic mathematical genius hired to audit a state-of-the-art robotics corporation Living Robotics. Anna Kendrick plays Dana Cummings the in-house accountant.
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4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray,and Digital copy, 2016, R for strong violence and profanity throughout; streaming via Amazon Video (4K), Apple TV (4K), Movies Anywhere (4K), Vudu (4K), YouTube (4K)
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.
(1) A farmer and his wife render Wolff's tax services and in exchange, he'll use their farm as a shooting range. (2) Wolff sets up his ZZZ Accounting office at a strip mall in Plainfield, Illinois just outside of Chicago. (3) J. K. Simmons plays Raymond King, the director of financial crimes for the Treasury Department, who recruits analyst Marybeth Medina to help him identify and arrest the Accountant who has a number of aliases. (4) Cynthia Addai-Robinson plays Treasury Department analyst Marybeth Medina, while natural 35mm film grain dances throughout "The Accountant."
We quickly learn Wolff's new job is a ploy to throw others off his more lucrative work as a 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.
(1) Wolff meets with Living Robotics leadership Rita Blackburn (Jean Smart), sister of CEO Lamar Blackburn (John Lithgow) and CFO Ed Chilton (Andy Umberger) before starting his audit of the company. (2) Wolff shows Cummings that $61 million had been embezzled from Living Robotics. (3) Chilton is confronted by Braxton a hitman after it was revealed that he was the embezzler. (4) CEO Lamar Blackburn (John Lithgow) tells Wolff his job is done. Chilton was found died from an apparent fatal insulin overdose.
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.
(1&2) Wolff sets up for target practice at the rural Illinois farm. (3) Assassins show up at the farm to get Wolff. (4) Wolff confronts the killers.
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
(1&2) Wolff kills an assassin at Dana Cummings apartment. (3) King and Medina arrive at Wolff's house and find evidence that he is the Accountant. (4) King confides to Medina during a flashback that Wolff had spared his life a decade earlier when he showed up at a crime scene where The Accountant killed nine members of the Gambino crime family. (5) The Accountant is on the run.