Sneak Peek: The Accountant
Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) is a math savant with more affinity for numbers than people. Behind the cover of a small-town CPA office, he works as a freelance accountant for some of the world’s most dangerous criminal organizations. With the Treasury Department’s Crime Enforcement Division, run by Ray King (J.K. Simmons), starting to close in, Christian takes on a legitimate client: a state-of-the-art robotics company where an accounting clerk (Anna Kendrick) has discovered a discrepancy involving millions of dollars. But as Christian uncooks the books and gets closer to the truth, it is the body count that starts to rise.
Starring: Ben Affleck (“Argo,” upcoming “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”), Oscar-nominee Anna Kendrick (“Up in the Air,” “Into the Woods”), Oscar-winner J.K. Simmons (“Whiplash,” the “Spider-Man” films), Jon Bernthal (“Fury,” “The Wolf of Wall Street”), Jean Smart (TV’s “Fargo,” “24”), and Cynthia Addai-Robinson (“Star Trek: Into Darkness”), with Jeffrey Tambor (TV’s “Transparent,” “The Hangover” films) and two-time Oscar nominee John Lithgow (“Interstellar,” “Terms of Endearment,” “The World According to Garp”)
Directed by: Gavin O’Connor (“Miracle,” “Pride and Glory,” “Warrior”)
Screenplay by: Bill Dubuque (“The Judge”)
Produced by: Mark Williams and Lynette Howell
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Runtime: 128 minutes
This transcript has been lightly edited:
The Referee: Guess what, listeners? The Critic and I got a chance to catch a Sneak Peek of a new movie coming out tomorrow — (laughter) oh, my gosh — called “The Accountant.” Yes, Warner Bros. is pulling no punches, here.
The Critic: Literally.
Ref: (laughing) Right? No, seriously. They’ve stacked the deck when it comes to actors. But, first, let’s talk about the director, Gavin O’Connor. You may remember Gavin from “Warrior” — remember that movie that came out? — among other things. And, it is written by the maybe-familiar Bill Dubuque. You may know him from “The Judge,” as being one of the screenwriters for that. But, the cast: Ben Affleck, whoa — this is (in raspy voice) Batman (laughter) — Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons, Jon Bernthal, Jeffrey Tambor — like, what? — John Lithgow —
Ref: Jean Smart! (laughs)
Ref: — and others. Listen, we’re gonna dive right in, because “The Accountant” is not the CPA that you’re going to want for your company. Or, maybe you will. (laughs)
Critic: Oh, I want him. Now, look, (laughing) let me tell you something. Everybody, Ben Affleck plays THE AC-COUN-TANT! OK? Exclamation points! (laughter) And, here’s what happens: He’s a small-town accountant. He has a little business on the side, though, with —
Ref: ZZZ Accounting Firm. (laughs)
Critic: There you go. And, his clients are un-sa-vo-ry. OK? These are very, very dangerous people. He’s a brilliant accountant. Oh, yes, he is. Look, if you need to get your taxes done, take it to him. And they show it in the movie, how he breaks it down. Now, the thing is, everybody: He has some form of autism. So, we see, in flashback scenes, how his father, who’s a military man, raised him — raised him to contend with the real world. He doesn’t want any hippy-dippy stuff. Oh, no. You’re gonna learn how to fight! OK? And, he has a younger brother who’s his best friend. The mother! I ain’t gon’ tell you what happens to her, OK? Mm. Now, something happens where he’s called in for a job. And this is where you get Jean Smart; this is where you get John Lithgow. They’re siblings; they run a company, and something’s going on with the books. Anna Kendrick’s character found a discrepancy. So, he’s brought in to figure it out. Of course, he starts doing that, but that leads to problems.
Ref: Leads to secrets and lies!
Critic: And deaths! OK? Because, there is a HITMAN on the loose, played by Jon Bernthal, who is out to get him, Anna Kendrick, and everybody he can find —
Ref: Involved, that’s right.
Critic: That’s right. So, the question is, everybody: Will the ACCOUNTANT be able to stop this hitman? And, on the flip side (makes the sound of a record reversing), we have — this is what they call it; I’m just going to read this: “the Treasury Department’s Crime Enforcement Division.” (laughs) OK? It’s run by J.K. Simmons’ character, and he has roped in a young agent, played by Cynthia Addai-Robinson, and told her: “Look, I know something about your past. So, you better find this accountant, because I need to know who he is. I’m about to retire.” So, who’s going to catch whom? Is it going to be the Treasury-Department people? Is it going to be the hitman? Is it going to be the accountant? You gotta watch it to find out!
Ref: Now, on the flip side, we haven’t mentioned the fact that the accountant wasn’t just trained to fight. He was also a trained assassin, himself.
Ref: So, when he comes and saves the day, it’s not just: He’s tying up people like Batman. He’s taking ‘em out! And it shocks everyone around him. Now, here’s the deal: Is this worth seeing in the movies? That’s what we’re here to talk about, right?
Critic: Yes. Yes!
Ref: I say, this is a mesh between “BOURNE Supremacy” (laughs) —
Critic: Yes. Yes.
Ref: — with the humor of what? (laughs)
Critic: (laughs) Look!
Ref: (still laughing) Not “Deadpool,” but —
Ref: — it sure gets funny when people are being shot in the head. (laughs)
Critic: Yeah. Look, all of you listeners, if you’ve seen “John Wick”: It has a little bit of “John Wick” in it, as well. It’s got a little bit of “Batman.”
Ref: It does. It does — the storyline. Now, let’s talk about the performances. Here we have wonderful performances by the veterans: John Lithgow really, probably not on purpose, delivers a lot of comedy. (laughter) He’s watching this big, huge fight go down. And you’re watching him watching the fight. And, so, you’re laughing at him watching the fight.
Ref: So, he’s definitely entertaining. J.K. Simmons is that guy. He is the Treasury; he is a former agent; you don’t want to mess with him. He’s either going to hire you or fire you.
Critic: That’s right.
Ref: And, you totally believe everything that’s going on. Anna Kendrick plays the accountant who’s this sort of — not damsel-in-distress — but she is someone who you want to save. We’ll put it that way.
Critic: Yeah, and she’s thrust into situations that, of course, she would not see coming. OK? (laughs)
Ref: Absolutely. And, she needs help; she needs defending; she needs rescuing, we’ll say. So, she does a great job with that. Of course, you have your girl —
Critic: Cynthia Addai-Robinson: Her character’s name is Marybeth Medina.
Ref: Marybeth Medina is — listen, she is the topnotch analyst. But, for some reason, she’s not being promoted; and J.K. Simmons sees to certain aspects of her promotion. Ha-ha-ha!
Critic: That’s right, and let me tell you: those scenes with her looking at the screen (laughter). I mean, everybody, you would think that somebody’s death was on the line. (laughter) It was so entertaining to see it.
Critic: — just somebody reading numbers and words. (laughs)
Ref: (chuckles) I know. I know. And you know what? I started to believe I was in danger (laughing) just by watching her. Jon Bernthal was the wonderful villain, we’ll put in quotes.
Ref: He really was the antithesis of the accountant. He’s very much energetic, cocky, full of himself, and takes joy in his work, we’ll say.
Critic: There you go. Oh, yeah, he’s having fun.
Ref: He’s definitely having fun. And, then, we’re left with Ben Affleck.
Ref: Now, this is a man who has mastered his autism. His father, in different situations and the things he uses —
Ref: — helps him master his mind, going millions of miles a minute in his head. And, I thought Ben Affleck did a great job of just playing a very reserved, very internal kind of hitman — if you’ve ever (laughing) seen one of those.
Critic: Right, ‘cause that’s the thing: Do you believe both? Do you believe he can kill and that he has that autistic kind of temperament? So, yeah, I think it was shrewd casting — shrewd. And, let’s not leave out Jeffrey Tambor.
Ref: Of course, I was leaving it to you. (laughter)
Critic: Yes — who plays the accountant’s other trainer as far as accounting goes.
Ref: His mentor, yeah.
Critic: That’s right. And, this is in prison scenes, if you can believe it. (laughing) OK? So, there we go with that. Let me just say this: If you enjoyed “John Wick” and “Bourne” —
Critic: — I’ll put both. If you enjoyed both, go see “The Accountant.” I mean, I’ll put it this way: It was 40 minutes too long. But, I didn’t mind it, because it was entertaining. I mean, you’re laughing at them doing all of this work. The writer, obviously — Bill Dubuque — just had a lot of fun —
Critic: — and didn’t cut anything.
Ref: Yeah, no.
Critic: He just kept everything. And the fight sequences — Ref, I know you were taken by these — I think they’re very reminiscent of “John Wick.” So —
Ref: “John Wick” and “Bourne Supremacy,” definitely. You’re going to get a lot of using materials around you to get things done, by any means necessary.
Ref: So, if you like those kinds of fight scenes: The sound was definitely, like, right out there; gunshots will have you jumping out of your seat; punches will have you thinking your neighbor just hit you. You know, (laughter) it’s just really, totally, totally entertaining. Listen, “The Accountant” comes out tomorrow, and you have a decision to make: Do you want to go to the movies to see this? I think Why Watch That is saying, “Yes!”
Ref: Go to the movies. See it. Will it work at home? Of course, it will.
Ref: But why wait?