An Atypical Thriller

Movies featuring special needs characters always end up being tear jerkers. It’s rare to find a feel good or even a thriller that deals with people who are non-typical. When these characters are in movies like this they are usually secondary and stereotypically and overly dramatic versions of what people with these issues really are like. The Accountant does a great job integrating someone who is different and enmeshing them in a thrilling fantasy world.

the-accountant-5Christian Wolf (and his plethora of aliases) was diagnosed with autism at a young age back at a time where society was even less accepting of those that were different. His mother wants to do everything to help her son succeed life but his father sees his son’s issues as weakness. As his father tries to eradicate these weaknesses by putting Christian and his brother through a variety of trials that will affect them the rest of their lives, his mother leaves the family because of the lack of help for her son. Christian is now an accountant using his talent for math and organization to have a semblance of a normal life. But he hides his true work like he hides his autism negating his work with mob bosses and drug cartels to the background and keeping his head down. That is until he goes to work for Lamar Black and uncovers a money laundering scheme that puts himself and his coworkers in danger. Christian uses his certain set of skills to protect her and solve the puzzle.

I was pleasantly surprised by The Accountant. As someone who has studied and worked in the field of autism for over a decade, I was worried how they would portray the main character and his developmental disorder. Luckily, it seems that the writer, directors and actor were truly aware of what autism entails and how it often manifests. The entire movie was entirely respectful not negating it to an unrealistic role in his life nor over blowing it for dramatic affect. Affleck does a great job with the character and does well portraying a high functioning autistic adult.

The rest of the cast shines as well. Iconic actors such as J.K. Simmons, Jean Smart, Jeffery Tambor and THE ACCOUNTANTJohn Lithgow add powerful depth. While Smart and Tambor have minimal parts, it’s always great to see their face on the big screen. But the best parts of the movie feature Affleck and Jon Bernthal, an up and coming heavy hitter. The two have major chemistry and their interactions are imbued with a variety of emotions. Bernthal is an amazing actor, and I look forward to seeing where his career takes him.

The plot seems farfetched in the trailer but the movie smooths things out nicely. The movie spans Christian’s entire life featuring flashbacks to his youth and the defining moments of his life. It builds a complex story about family and nature vs nurture. Stories that seem to run parallel entwine and most often come full circle. The movie features two promenade twists (only one in which I saw coming early on) that answer any questions that the movie brings up.

Well researched, written, and acted, The Accountant is a fun thriller that changes the way we see movies with nontypicallly developing characters. Now if Affleck would just continue to make these kinds of movies instead of the Batman movies.

 

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Jack Ryan Still Not On His A Game

Hollywood is obsessed with repeating itself. Chris Pine helped kick off a new reboot? Let’s put him in another one! Let’s take a franchise ruined by Ben Affleck and hope that Pine can do his magic again. This results in a very mediocre espionage movie.
Jack Ryan. That name should be familiar with to most. He is the star of a string of novels by Tom Clancy many which have been made into movie. Jack Ryan come to the big screen in Alec Baldwin’s shoes, but hit his peak with Harrison Ford. Then in 2002 Affleck stared in a reboot that removed itself from the chronological events in the first movies. This movie failed to bring Jack Ryan back.
jack-ryan-shadow-chris-pine-kevin-costner-bench-600-370Pine’s version in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit brings Ryan into our generation. He joined the military after 9-11 and was injured in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan which ended his military career. Ryan is brought into the CIA by Thomas Harper, played by Kevin Costner who is viscously trying to reboot his career. Ryan starts off in office work, tracing accounting and national security threats with in big money. When he stumbles across a grand scheme involving Russia, Ryan must go out to the field and see if he still has what it takes.
This whole movie is confusing. I am curious as why Russia was once again chosen as the villains in this piece when they are updating Ryan’s story. Russia figures prominently in earlier works especially during those during the Cold War. Are they just going from this or trying to make us see that Russia is still a valid threat while we are concerned with the Middle East and North Korea? Or is it simply, just an un-thought-out plot idea?
Then of course is the actual threat to the American government that only someone with a PhD in economics can understand and decode. When Harper says dumb it down, the script should have dumbed it down. Somehow, Russia is selling off American money and coordinating a terrorist attack so the American dollars sinks so low the Great Depression will look like drop in the bucket. Not that I understood any of that, but I nodded my head and went with it. There are various other things along the line, but let’s look at other aspects of the movie.jack-ryan-shadow-recruit
Ryan fiancée Cathy Muller is played by Keira Knightley with a horrible American accent. Once again, Knightly plays a rather bitchy female with no empowerment that seems to have become her staple character. Not all of the horribleness of this character is her fault though; she is written horribly and in a very ant-feminist way. She thinks Ryan is cheating on her throughout the movie though he is begging her to marry him so he could confide everything to her. Cathy is moody, week, and unrealistic.
Pine does attribute something positive to the movie. Ryan is given some very complex emotions. While these do not last long, Pine actually makes the audience feel how upset Ryan is with having to kill someone. His Ryan is not all swaggers. This is probably his best role to date.
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit leaves a lot to be desired. Kenneth Branagh dos double duty playing the villain and directing the film. I think it may have gone better, if he had chosen one role. But I do have to admit Jack Ryan looks really good up on that IMAX screen.