Atomic Blonde

Atomic Blonde is a 2017 action thriller spy film directed by David Leitch and written by Kurt Johnstad. Based upon the graphic novel The Coldest City by Anthony Jonson and Sam Hart, the film follows MI-6 officer Lorraine Broughton, played by Charlize Theron, as she is sent into Berlin in November 1989, directly preceding the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the civil unrest that followed, to recover a list containing the names of every Allied and Soviet operative currently active. Lorraine meets up with David Percival, played by James McAvoy, MI-6’s top man in Berlin. Lorraine must learn to navigate the city and work with some shady individuals in order to recover this list.

If the plot of Atomic Blonde sounds disappointingly generic to you, that’s because it is. This film suffers a lot from a presumably low-effort script from Johnstad, the man behind such high-minded brilliance as both 300 films and Act Of Valor. Those are his only screenplay credits. Why anyone would hire this guy to make a memorable screenplay is beyond me and I was disappointed they didn’t find anyone that would try harder. The really infuriating thing about that is there are some would-be decent twists in this film, but the plot surrounding these twists is so meh I didn’t really care. This movie would be so much more interesting if there was a reason to really give a crap, but Johnstad instead uses a plot we’ve seen a dozen times before and does nothing interesting with it. Johnstad instead decided to rip off two of the most entertaining spy films in recent years. 1996’s Mission: Impossible and the 2012 James Bond film Skyfall both had the “spy list” plot, but both were able to turn it on it’s head and make it unique, which is, I think, part of the reason why those two films were so good and why they are still established and well-recieved franchises to this day. Skyfall actually said “screw the stupid list” at the halfway point and jettisoned the generic Macguffin for something better. Johnstad, in contrast, copy-pasted “spy story” from the internet and put it on a piece of paper.

I should mention that Atomic Blonde uses the cliche “in the interrogation room after everything went down with the main plot presented as a flashback.” These scenes feature veteran actors Toby Jones and John Goodman asking Broughton questions about events that happened throughout the film, interrupting the main Berlin narrative. These scenes accomplish nothing and bring the film to a screeching halt. Literally nothing is said or done in these scenes that it would be considered important to leave them in, and I’m not exactly sure why they did at all.

The acting from both Charlize Theron and James McAvoy is top notch, with McAvoy’s performance being something unrelated to the action that I really enjoyed. Sofia Boutella’s performance as a naive French Intelligence officer, though, left something to be desired. That’s another problem I had with the film, and of course, it’s related to the script. Spy films are, by their nature, full of twists, lies, and betrayal. There are usually several key players in the fold of the story to keep things interesting. There’s not a lot of room to manuver with twists when you just have three extremely underwritten, generic, and boring characters to work with. That’s all this dude thought was necessary and he was very wrong. I wish to reiterate that the screenwriter is a giant and near-fatal detriment to what could have been a extremely interesting and engrossing stylized spy film.

This is not to say the movie isn’t without its merits. Far from it, in fact; Atomic Blonde benefits from masterful directing from David Leitch, co-director of John Wick, which I found to be very entertaining. Make no mistake, he and Chapter 2 director Chad Stahelski are masters of Hollywood action and are quickly rising on my list of favorite modern directors. This film does not change that at all, because despite not being absorbed by the plot at all, Leitch was still able to present an extremely stylish Berlin, complete with a competent and catchy soundtrack of classic tunes that you would be remiss not to find on the radio at the time. The former stuntman’s signature balls-to-the-wall action continues to be present in full force here. Not to spoil anything, but there is a sequence approximately 3/4ths of the way through the film that I believe puts even the director’s previous works on notice. Atomic Blonde is efficient from a technical standpoint on nearly every level. David Leitch’s directing is this film’s saving grace, taking it from utterly forgettable to somewhat memorable and fun despite itself.

Atomic Blonde was a film that I was actually very much looking forward to, due to it being directed by Leitch. In some very critical ways, I was disappointed. In other ways, I was very impressed. I came in wanting brilliant action sequences. If I got that, I was going to be satisfied. Thankfully, I was. Sadly, I was secretly hoping to be more than satisfied. Due to the production hiring a lazy bum to write a script, Atomic Blonde was nothing more than “pretty darn good.” The visuals, action, and music were top notch, but the script is so heartwrenchingly lazy that the film gets tied down by it. I really feel that anyone could’ve done a better job. Even so, I was entertained. Atomic Blonde is a kind of movie where it really depends on what you came for, so I leave it up to you. I enjoyed it. You may very well not, and that is understandable.

Atomic Blonde: Red Band Trailer

Atomic Blonde is an upcoming spy thriller action film directed by David Leitch, John Wick co-creator and future director of the Deadpool sequel. The film is based upon the 2013 graphic novel The Coldest City by Anthony Johnston and will feature a script by Kurt Johnstad. The film will star Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, Toby Jones, Eddie Marsan, Sofia Boutella, and John Goodman.

Atomic Blonde, as well as its original source material, tells the story of Lorraine Broughton, an MI-6 agent sent to Berlin to investigate the death of an undercover agent and retrieve a list of every Western officer working in Berlin, which is in possession of a Stasi agent that the undercover man was able to flip, codenamed Spyglass. Set in 1989, the story is set in the backdrop of the extremely volatile and dangerous period  leading up to the eve of the collapse of the Berlin Wall on November 9th. Lorraine is forced to partner up with Berlin Section head David Percival, and the two forge an uneasy alliance with each other.

As John Wick remains possibly my favorite film of the straight-up action thriller genre, I was immediately interested in what its creators, Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, were planning next. Stahelski went on as the sole director of the equally brilliant John Wick: Chapter 2, as Leitch was busy with this new project. As he has been attached to direct this film since early 2015, I immediately purchased and read through the source material as I knew I was automatically going to see this film, as, at the time of writing this, I am automatically interested in anything either of the two men create. The graphic novel presents an old-school le Carré-esque story with much more focus on tradecraft and double agents. That type of story is very much a niche and is not for everyone, as tradecraft and mystery-driven spy thrillers are often deliberately slow moving and cerebral, which is a turn-0ff for mainstream audiences. So when it comes into converting The Coldest City into the action-focused Atomic Blonde….

I have absolutely no objections whatsoever. The trailer starts with a sampling of what I assume will be a breathtaking long take action sequence. I have often described what a long take is in other reviews; it is a portion of the film that is shot continuously, meaning no fancy camera tricks and no breaks. Normally for fight sequences, it’s “kung fu move, cut, kung fu move, cut, kung fu move, cut.” With a long take, there are no breaks. For further examples of long takes, see both seasons of  Daredevil and the first season of True Detective. I am overjoyed that both these two men know to cast people who can actually pull off action sequences like this themselves without a stunt double. Keanu Reeves is apparently immortal, and Charlize Theron has proved her action chops in Mad Max: Fury Road. The sequence in question, though it certainly stole the show in this trailer, is not the only thing of note here. There are several glimpses here of sequences that are sure to give the film’s spiritual predecessor a run for it’s money.

All of this focus on action is not to discount the fact that Charlize Theron is an Academy-Award winner and a truly talented actress in her own right, on top of being physically fit enough to pull off a film like this, and James McAvoy, though overshadowed by X-Men co-star Michael Fassbender, is a very talented actor, whom I hazard will have some awesome highlights of his own throughout the film. On top of that, the wonderfully skeevy Toby Jones is here, being wonderfully skeevy. With such plot-heavy source material to work with, even though they are certainly not following the graphic novel to the letter, there’s more than enough to create an engaging plot; if you can make one of the most engaging action films in the past few decades using a dog and a car, a good story with the material here should not be hard at all.

Atomic Blonde might sound like a cheap California-produced porno, but make no mistake; this neo-noir spy film, directed by the guy who created one of my favorite films of all time, starring a very beautiful, award-winning, and talented actress and a woefully underrated and talented Scotsman, is officially my most anticipated film of the summer. Atomic Blonde is set to be released on July 28th, 2017.

John Wick: Chapter 2

John Wick: Chapter 2 is a 2017 American neo-noir action film written and directed by Chad Stahelski. It is a sequel to the 2014 sleeper hit John WickChapter 2 sees Keanu Reeves, Ian McShane, Lance Reddick, John Leguizamo, and Thomas Sadoski reprising their roles from the previous film. Riccardo Scamarcio, Ruby Rose, and Common are introduced as the film’s major antagonists. Picking up where the first film left off, after dispatching several men in particularly brutal and awesome fashion and retrieving his beloved 1969 Boss 429 that was stolen in the previous film, John “The Boogeyman” Wick returns to his retirement. He is approached by an old associate, who calls in a “marker” on John. A marker is a blood oath one makes to another in return for a favor. As it turns out, Santino D’Antonio assisted Wick with the “impossible task” which let our protagonist leave the shadowy world of assassination. D’Antonio, son of a crime lord who had a seat at the mysterious High Table, wants Wick to kill his sister, who was willed her father’s seat after his death. Wick reluctantly accepts the conditions of the marker, leading to an action-packed thrill ride across Rome and New York.

I feel I can say this without exaggeration: John Wick: Chapter 2 is a perfect sequel. Chapter 2 takes everything great about the previous film and doubles down. It is the most satisfying action movie I have seen since the original. The original John Wick relied on a purposefully barebones plot of revenge for puppy-murder to set up a fully-realized world and showcase some truly epic action sequences. John Wick did something that a lot of action movies fail to do, and that is world-building, like I mentioned before. The original film established that a secret shadow society exists, a world of assassins, made up of assassins. They apparently have The Continental, a five-star hotel and safe haven for assassins that operates on unique currency and gold coins. This shadow society has a complex ecosystem and a set of rules and regulations that cannot be broken. Every character has a fully-realized and fleshed-out backstory that is not fully divulged to the audience on purpose, in order to add a sense of mystique to this already mysterious world. That is where the real magic is. On top of the amazing action sequences, you become invested in this complex society you know very little about, and that is the coolest part of these films. Chapter 2 manages to greatly expand the scope of this shadow world while continuing to divulge very little, leaving you captivated. It’s a Wonderland of Death, and it is awesome.

The action sequences in Chapter 2 make those of its predecessor look unimpressive in comparison. I say that knowing full-well that the original gave us this…

Chapter 2‘s opening sequence, in which John lays siege to a chop shop to retrieve his beloved muscle car, gives the club scene a run for its money, and there is a full ten-minute sequence that begins at a party in Rome, moves to the catacombs, and culminates with a hand-to-hand battle with Common’s character in the streets that is quite simply, the most intricate and engrossing action set piece I have ever seen.

In case you were curious as to why the fight scenes in both films are so engrossing and satisfying, allow me to explain them from a technical aspect. The original John Wick was a two-man directorial effort by legendary stuntmen Chad Stahelski and David Leitch. Both men were the masterminds behind the action sequences in The Matrix. For their first big project in which they were in charge, they took from many diverse inspirations that included other films, as well as anime and video games. They also needed someone who is capable of performing stunts with an unbelievable amount of physicality. Keanu Reeves is the perfect man for that job.

Usually, in films like Taken, The Bourne Identity, or RED, the main actors are too old/it’s too complicated to perform their own stunts, so they have to use a stunt double. In order to keep the audience’s suspension of disbelief intact, they have to trick your brain/hide the fact that guy isn’t really Liam Neeson/Bruce Willis/Matt Damon. They do this by using a technique called shaky cam, which is exactly like it sounds. They also use a lot of quick cuts every second to disorient you, which leads to stuff that looks like this:

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This is how shaky cam/cutting can still be effective in an action sequence
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This is shaky cam at it’s absolute worst…

With films like John Wick and its sequel, which don’t need to disorient and confuse their audience (because Keanu Reeves is simply a top-tier specimen of a man), you get something marvelous: stabilized, coherent, smooth sequences of action with minimal cuts and maximum awesomeness.giphy

Since the movie came out on Friday, I could not find a good GIF showcasing the sheer awesomeness that is Chapter 2, but trust me when I tell you that it is breathtaking. There is a scene (a part of the sequence in Rome that I mentioned earlier) where Wick gets into a brutal street fight with Common’s character, in which they continually toss themselves down three flights of stairs. Common ends up on the ground, with John still standing attempting to shoot him, but Common uses Wick’s body to spin around and doge the bullets. I know that makes no sense and I’ve only seen the film once and my description is probably inaccurate, but something with spins and bullets happens. It’s glorious. Everything is awesome.

Needless to say, the cinematography is very much on point; the acting in the film is also excellent. The John Wick series itself is an exceedingly self-aware throwback to hamtastic action flicks like Roadhouse and Commando, in terms of plot. Keanu Reeves is a decent actor with very little range. This means he is the perfect actor of this generation to pull off cheesy one-liners a la Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator and actually make it work.

I am well aware that I continue to use footage from John Wick in my review of Chapter 2. This is due to the lack of public footage of the recently released sequel, but this is not detrimental to my review of the sequel, because like any great sequel, it takes the familiarity of the previous work and adds a fresh new twist on it; Chapter 2 is a seamless continuation of the original, and just takes everything and makes it better. It entirely avoids the pitfalls of simply “being more of the same” and instead builds upon the original with a ton of new stuff. It is a great sequel, as well as simply a great film by itself that completely avoids using the original as a crutch in any way.

John Wick: Chapter 2 is an awesome movie and a perfect sequel, again maintaining a perfect balance of self-aware cheese and bone-crunching brutality. It drops you into a world with so many mysteries and institutions you can’t help but be a little bit curious how things go. Even my mother, who is not a big fan of action movies, seems to be genuinely interested in seeing how things play out in the next installment. (Trust me, there will be a next installment.) Yes, I feel like the action is the main draw here, but even if you could care less, you will find something captivating about Chapter 2, even if you didn’t care for the original at all. Universality of enjoyment is the mark of a truly great film. John Wick: Chapter 2 is a truly great film, and you should go see it.

The Magnificent Seven (2016)

The Magnificent Seven is a 2016 Western action film directed by Antoine Fuqua and written by Nic Pizzolatto and Richard Wenk. It is a remake of the 1960 film of the same name, which was, in turn, a Westernized version of the 1954 Japanese period epic Seven Samurai. The film stars Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onoforio, Lee Byung-Hun, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Martin Sensmeier, Haley Bennett, and Peter Sarsgaard. In post-Civil War America, corrupt industrialist Bartholomew Bouge threatens the town of Rose Creek. Bouge needs the small mining town for his industrial operations. The besieged townspeople have three weeks to save their town. After her husband is killed by Bouge, Emma Cullen and her friend Teddy set out to find some heroes to protect their town. After recruiting the resolute and stalwart Sam Chisholm, they happen upon gunslinger, gambler, and drinker Josh Farraday, who joins them. Chisholm, duly sworn warrant officer of Wichita,  Kansas and (insert host of other occupations I can’t remember) finds his old friend, ex-Confederate sharpshooter Goodnight Robicheaux and his knife-wielding companion Billy Rocks. The group also manages to recruit the eccentric and possibly unstable tracker Jack Horne and Mexican outlaw Vasquez. The group is then completed after happening upon lone Comanche warrior Red Hawk. The group then prepares to defend the town from Bouge.

I am a fan of Westerns. I love Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Dollars Trilogy, and I wrote a paper on Unforgiven last semester. I must admit, I was meaning to see the original 1960 film, but never got around to it. I can only hope that the original was better than this. For your information, I left out nothing important in that summary. Nothing of consequence happens that you, the reader, are left unaware of. The only backstories that are ever mentioned are the fact that Bouge murdered Chisholm’s family in Lincoln, Kansas, which is discussed in the first 1/3 of the movie, and the fact that Goodnight doesn’t kill anymore because violence is wrong. You learn nothing of interest about Farraday, Rocks, Horne, or Red Hawk, beyond the fact that they are good guys. You do not care about the characters at all. The plot, though not what I’d call “thin,” is exceedingly generic and reeks of boredom.

There are some amazing films with generic plots, however. John Wick revolves around revenge for a dead puppy; an excuse to showcase mind-blowing action sequences, great set design, and world building. John Wick was also great at exposition. It didn’t tell you worthless information, and told you just enough to make John Wick a scary, badass guy, even to the viewer, which is why the film works so well. Sadly, this is not the case The Magnificent Seven, in which the action sequences, of which their where only about three or four, and just one big one, are as generic as its plot and characters. The film is also loaded up with needless exposition that desperately tries to make you connect with these characters, and it fails miserably.

The acting also leaves much to be desired. I like Denzel Washington in everything I see him in. I feel he is very charismatic and just feels like an empathetic dude in general. Here, though, Washington sleepwalks through this role. Sam doesn’t seem very impassioned about hunting down the dude who killed his family, even when doing the deed. When confronting Bogue, I did not see anger or frustration. The best way I can describe Denzel in this movie is that he wasn’t playing a character, Denzel was playing “Denzel playing a character in a movie,” like RDJ as a dude playing a dude disguised as another dude in Tropic Thunder, but in real life. Chris Pratt is his normal, likable, charming self, but he doesn’t elevate the movie. Basically, everyone in this film is passable, but no one is excellent. I will say two things, though. D’Onoforio’s character is very eccentric, and for some reason, he literally speaks like this the entire movie. It is very irritating and takes away from his character. Peter Sarsgaard, who is the worst actor in his family, plays Bouge. Bouge only has about fifteen minutes of screen time throughout the entirety of the film, and he does nothing scary or intimidating beyond the generic “shoot my own henchmen because I’m a bad guy” thing. He has no motivation for his actions beyond evilness, and Sarsgaard acts his entire character as a very, very poor imitation of Christoph Waltz, playing the sophisticated psychopath, and doing it badly. Also, I may be wrong, but I am almost positive in both Seven Samurai (which I’ve seen) and the original 1960 film, the villains were bandits, who were by definition, outside the law. In the film, Bouge is an industrialist with a mansion, mercenaries, a corporation, the whole nine yards. What he is doing is obviously wrong. They do explain that he has law enforcement on his payroll to look the other way, but there would be some sort of intervention on the federal level. You can’t just murder/enslave entire towns for your otherwise legitimate mining corporation and not expect someone in the federal government to be like “Hold on.” I know that’s a little nitpicky, but to be honest, it’s a rather huge plot hole that no one explains, ever. Why not just make them bandits? They’re scarier anyway.

I watched this film together, with the family, at the behest of my father. You see, I love my family, but I don’t watch movies with them because my Dad’s a talker. Not in the theater, just at home, which is OK. I just can’t get invested when my Dad interjects with a comment on random things at random points. You see, the last time we had a family viewing, the film was Pacific Rim, the (somehow) cult classic monster vs. mechs Guillermo del Toro film that I and the entirety of my family despise with a passion. I will admit that we were in a townhouse at the time while constructing our new house, so we watched it on a relatively small 52″ (which sounds big, but not really) on normal stereo TV sound. I have read that the film is much better in IMAX with theater sound, but I honestly don’t care. Myself, my mother, my father, and my best friend (thankfully my brother slept over at a friend’s house, so he was spared) all hated everything about it. I will never watch it again. So Dad had to beg me to sit down and watch this with the family. I acquiesced; I wasn’t expecting anything mind-blowing, but I was interested to see this film, figuring, if nothing else it would be flawed yet sufficiently entertaining. For the record, I sat on the couch for this one. I got out of my chair and sat on the couch. I watched the entire thing through, I did not space out or get distracted.

Despite all of my complaints and ripping into this movie, I will admit that The Magnificent Seven is not a bad film. It’s not. There is nothing horrible or glaringly, unconscionably deficient about it. In theory, it is all perfectly acceptable. Everything is decent all around. The problem with that is that with everything perfectly acceptable, there’s nothing notable about it. The Magnificent Seven is not a bad film, but it had both me and my brother both bored out of our minds. I am ashamed to say this, but my brother and I interjected more than Dad. There’s nothing here; at least with a movie as bad as Pacific Rim, there would be stuff to talk about. You can have a conversation about it’s badness, which I have had countless times concerning Pacific Rim, trust me. It’s been a few days since I saw The Magnificent Seven. I didn’t post a review right away because I was struggling to think of things to say. Like I said, it’s a movie. That’s it. It is neither notably bad nor any good. I will say my father enjoyed it much more than I did. It’s not a crisis like Pacific Rim was, but I would avoid this if I were you, unless you’re curious to see if it’s boring for you, too.  If I gave scores The Magnificent Seven would get “null/undefined.” Shoulda picked Keanu instead.

The Accountant

The Accountant is a 2016 American action thriller film directed by Gavin O’Connor and written by Bill Dubduque. The film stars Ben Affleck, Jon Bernthal, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, J.K. Simmons, and Anna Kendrick. Affleck stars as the autistic son of a U.S. Army Psychological Operations officer. He was of the belief that his autistic son should learn to live in the harshness of the world and overcome it, rather than adapt the world to him. To that effect, the Colonel raises his son and has him train with a number of combat specialists. He essentially becomes a living weapon. He grows up and becomes a forensic accountant for a number of very dangerous criminal organizations, currently operating under the alias Christian Wolff.

Though coming under some controversy for supposedly exploiting autism, as someone very well-versed on the subject, I did not see it that way at all. No, having autism in no way makes you a super-assassin, but it is an entertaining idea, and the film in no way belittles people with autism, nor does it patronize them. The behavioral and neurological factors of autism are rather well portrayed by Affleck. It is very respectful of the condition in that aspect. There’s also some exploration of sensory overload, an aspect of autism I do not feel gets as much love as it should. Yes, autism is used in The Accountant as (half) of an explanation as to why Wolff is an effective killing machine, but I don’t have a problem with that, and don’t see why people do. Autism is portrayed rather accurately in The Accountant. Christian Wolff is never pitied and treated as an unstoppable force of sheer and abject violence and terror, just like any other highly-trained, cold, calculating assassin, as well he should be.

Boasting a rather ridiculous and unrealistic premise, The Accountant is nevertheless a solid film.The film features a very good and, as I mentioned, mostly accurate performance from Ben Affleck. The fight choreography is very well-done, using pencak silat, the martial art used in The Raid, and the shootouts are excellent, on par with John Wick, even. There is a farmhouse shootout that serves as the first major action piece of the movie; it is extremely entertaining. The Accountant, in fact, seems to draw from John Wick in several aspects. John Wick is a smarter-than-it-seems action thriller that purposefully leaves some questions about the plot unanswered, and gives an extremely limited backstory on the main character himself in order to  preserve his legend and mystique, making John Wick as a character seem a lot more interesting. The Accountant does this effectively. There really isn’t a lot we know about “Wolff,” which isn’t even his real name. His legend is very effective. Another benefit of leaving some things to the imagination is avoiding too much exposition. Some modern action movies make the mistake of thinking the “movie (plot)” part is more important than the “action” part, overburdening the audience with needless and ultimately annoying exposition that gets in the way of what the audience came to see. The Accountant does this well, to an extent, although there are some very crucial plot elements that are not explained in any detail and require explanation in order to make sense, leaving the audience confused at some places. There’s a difference between leaving things unsaid in a film, and leaving plot holes. The Accountant tends to stray too far in one direction, and really drags down what would’ve been a great film, instead ending up just a pretty good one. The film features a subplot of Treasury agents on Wolff’s trail, but they never even come close. Although it ends up being a rather sizeable chunk of the film, I wonder why they are even in there.

Anna Kendrick’s performance leaves much to be desired. Though my slight celebrity crush on her prohibits me from calling her absolutely terrible, they would have been better served here casting another actress who doesn’t look and dress like a college freshman, as her character is an accountant for a robotics firm.

One thing I can say for certain is I need more Bernthal in my life. If you are one of the poor, unlucky souls yet to feel the Bern (bringing it back), Jon Bernthal is best known for his performance as Shane in The Walking Dead and more recently for his role as Frank Castle/The Punisher in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a role that has rightfully netted more acclaim and notoriety than his Walking Dead role ever will. Also featured in a small role in SicarioBernthal is extremely effective at anti-hero roles, and is one of the most underutilized character actors in Hollywood, though hopefully not for long. Bernthal can flip on a dime, at first being absolutely horrifying and intimidating, and then empathetic and likeable. Proof of this can easily be found in the opening of Daredevil: Season 2 and his monologue a few episodes later.

In The Accountant, Bernthal plays a ruthless, yet unsettlingly likeable assassin who comes up against our protagonist, attempting to dispatch him in efficient fashion several times, yet failing to kill him, leading him to consider the The Accountant his equal. Bernthal’s character and performance is interesting and engaging; I can’t wait for the day he firmly establishes himself in Hollywood, as his performance, along with Affleck’s, serves to offset the damage done by a holey script.

The Accountant is an effective, yet flawed effort by Warrior director Gavin O’Connor. Though by no means perfect, it is unabashedly entertaining, utilizing a unique and suitably ridiculous premise to interesting and positive effect. It is at times confusing and unengaging, but ultimately enjoyable and fun, with several neat ideas and aspects littered throughout that add layers to what could have been cliché, boring, or worst, offensive. It isn’t the best film of the year, by any means, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy myself.