The Accountant makes for a stupid film title in my opinion. I don’t care how good the movie is, I still hate the name given. I probably couldn’t come up with anything better, but that’s why I am writing Blu-ray movie reviews and not films themselves. However, you can’t say it doesn’t grab your attention. Come on! I don’t know about you, but my mind strays to thoughts of how boring this flick can be with a name like this. I can’t help it. I’m high maintenance and like my lifestyle I want a zinger of a movie title to accompany the features I adore. Whoa! Stop the press! This one stars Ben Affleck! The man brought Batman back to life. You can Argo F#%* yourselves. He deserves our undivided attention. So listen up as here comes the 4-1-1 on The Accountant releasing on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray January 10th.
The Accountant is an action thriller film directed by Gavin O’Connor, written by Bill Dubuque. It stars Ben “Batman” Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons, Jon Bernthal, Jeffrey Tambor, Cynthia Addai-Robinson and John Lithgow. I don’t know about you, but those are some heavy hitting names to me. What’s even more heavy hitting is the film’s premise. In this story our so called “accountant,” Christian Wolff (Affleck), uses a small town CPA office as his cover. In actuality, he really makes his living as a forensic accountant for dangerous criminal organizations, hence all those espionage looking commercial and trailers you’ve seen.
So this one is hard to tackle without ruining for you. It’s simplistic in nature, but there are a few gotchas and interesting puzzle pieces to find along the way. That’s why I really like it too. My girlfriend said it best when she coined the phrase “The Accountant was like the perfect puzzle. All the pieces fit together by the end.” I’m not going to lie. I prefer to walk out of a movie that leaves you thinking about it thought provokingly, but also one that has a definite resolve to it all too. Those are the kind of films I need no sequels to as I just just appreciate them more as a standalone entry into a huge movie universe. However, given how much I liked The Accountant, I can definitely see others wanting more of this titular character akin to how people went nuts over John Wick.
So who is Ben Affleck in this film? The real question should be who isn’t he. He can be anybody, but we mostly know him by the name of Christian Wolff. Needless to say he’s an accountant. And like most of them, he gets along better with numbers than people. He’s socially awkward, but there’s a reason for it and I’m not going to spoil it for you here. He does booking and what not for some very dangerous clients and I guess you can say uses his small-town CPA office, Z Z Z Accounting, as a cover. Ironically, Christian picks his next client to be what he thought a legitimate client, a robotics company that specializes in prosthetics. He figures this is safe. However, as he starts to uncover the truth the body counts rise. He’s abruptly stopped and because of his nature he can’t quit (another spoiler as to why I can’t reveal the reason of his compulsion).
Meanwhile, a US Treasury agent coming upon retirement, Ray King (Simmons), soon is hot on Christian’s trail. We learn their paths have crossed before and he’s very keen on discovering who “the accountant” is. I say accountant here because no one knows his real name. I told you it was Christian, but that does not mean the characters in the film know that. I do my best to preserve the mystery. So down on her luck, up and coming treasury agent Cynthia Addai-Robinson’s gets involved in the man hunt. She’s tasked with finding out who the accountant is. I got to hand it to her, she’s a lot smarter than she looks. Then there’s the flip side of it all here, John Bernthal’s character known as Brax. Have you seen Sicario? With the exception of an important factor his character feels so similar in this one. Those are just the major players ladies and gentlemen. Underneath it all you have a tale of financial corruption, a government manhunt and even some serious underlying family drama to contend with here.
I guess I did forget one other player, Miss Anna Kendrick. She’s an odd one in this. She feels as socially introverted as Christian, but really isn’t. However, she’s important to the story as she propels some of the course of action our protagonist chooses. That’s all I’ll say on that, but I did bring her up for a reason in this paragraph. The scenes she shares with Ben are probably some of my favorite ones. The tender awkwardness between the pair made for not only a lot of laughs, but also some really cute moments. Speaking of cute, I used that word to describe this film to a co-worker the next day. He nearly flipped his lid. Relax. I went on to tell him it was a good flick with a solid resolve, not rushed just done right.
The Accountant for me was a well crafted thriller, albeit a quiet one. You’ll get what I mean by that when you see it, but for me the fun was both peeling back the layers, putting the pieces together and enjoying the hell out of Affleck’s performance. It should at least tide people over until next year’s Justice League when we get to see him kick more butt. However, I did say quiet didn’t I? I mean it as a term of endurance and for the patience required, but when the action kicks in it moves really swift just like John Wick. There’s a lot of similarities between the two pics, but the exception being Wick isn’t an introvert and his story is pretty linear. Like I said up above, The Accountant is more like a puzzle that you put together. The good thing about it is by the end you’ll find out not only do you have all the pieces, but also they fit so perfectly well together. The performances are great, the action is fresh and the narrative’s not dumb. What more can you ask for? A brilliant resolve you have!
The below video score and related critique of things here are based solely upon my viewing of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation of The Accountant.
- Encoding: HEVC / H.265
- Resolution: 4K (2160p)
- Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
- Clarity/Detail: There’s a review of this 4K title over at High Def Digest (see here) and I think it’s a bit too harsh. There’s thin veneer of natural film grain throughout thanks to the 35mm way it was captured and as a result some softer shots here or there, but nothing that ever becomes problematic for me. So it’s softer than other 4K releases. So what? Is that a reason to ding it? I don’t think so. I just think The Accountant has a much more cinematic feel to it than other titles. However, when The Accountant wants to be clear and detailed it is like in textures such as rugs, blankets, wood grain doors, etc. and in closeups revealing pores, stubble and more.
- Depth: Since this one was shot in 35mm you kind of already know it’s going to have that rich depth of field to it. The onscreen characters all have that three-dimensional pop to them that we know and love that separate them from their environments. Long hallways, cityscapes, etc. all seem to go on in vast distances. So yeah like John Wick would say there’s some depth of field going on here.
- Black Levels: The black levels had a deep and natural feel to them onscreen, but a couple of times I do have to admit that they crushed their surrounding environments just a tad. However, it’s not all that bad so don’t worry much.
- Color Reproduction: The color palette for me was also very natural and earthy. Examples such as blues in denim and red marker on glass popped against the contrast, but never did I feel The Accountant came off as being too drab or dull. Maybe they were a bit limited, but accurate at the same time. To my eyes this 4K presentation just had a very natural look to it thanks to the employment of HDR.
- Flesh Tones: The temperatures of the flesh tones were all natural and authentic throughout the presentation.
- Noise/Artifacts: With the exception of the film grin there’s really nothing to ding this one for in regards to noisy artifacts or other kind of nasties. This probably isn’t a 4.5, but I really can’t find much wrong with this one. It looked natural and pleasing to my eyes so that’s all that matters I guess because I’m the law around these parts.
Like I mentioned up above in the video section, the below audio score and critical comments of such are based solely upon my viewing of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation of The Accountant. Sadly Warner Bros. provides no advance “atmospheric” audio codec like DTS:X or Dolby Atmos to be found here. Both the 4K UHD disc and the regular 1080p Blu-ray come locked and loaded with a DTS-HD MA surround track. However, fret not because things still sound fantastic here.
- Audio Format(s): English 7.1 & 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English Descriptive Audio 5.1, French (Parisian & Quebec) Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish (Castilian & Latin) Dolby Digital 5.1
- Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
- Dynamics: The Accountant is a quiet one most of the times, but holy hell can the picture get quite out at times. There’s great directionality and proximity throughout, but like I said in the intense moments the dynamics of this track will really make you take notice. I just wish the dialogue was a tad louder, but thankfully it never gets lost in the shuffle of things here.
- Height: Since this is only a DTS-HD MA surround track there’s no discreet height channel other than moments that bleed through here.
- Low Frequency Extension: The LFE channel is where it’s at in this surround track. Holy hell! When Ben’s character is sniping and picking off everyone at the end the bass is absolutely insane taking my memories back to that scene in The Dark Knight where Wayne is putting bullets into those bricks in the makeshift Bat Cave bunker. Remember how aggressive that sounded? Well that’s what is in store for you here. I can’t say enough good things about the bass in this one. When called upon it drops da bomb on you! I’m in love with the sound of Christian’s .50 caliber BMG sniper rifle firing off. It will wake the dead. I think because of this fact I’m awarding a score of a 4.5 when this should really probably be only a 4. Of course there are other subtle moments of LFE channel use such as lows in the score, footsteps running by, deadly body blows and thuds and that heavy metal music our main man utilizes to calm himself down at night.
- Surround Sound Presentation: Like I already said up above I think a great job is done using the entire sound field and pans happen authentically throughout like this one door slam for example. It caught my attention the way it panned from one side to the other because it just felt real and natural. Of course there are many other examples to highlight here like taxi cars screaming by, gun shells falling around you, birds chirping, the accountant thinking out loud, him freaking out and losing control and so much more. I’m sure you get the idea.
- Dialogue Reproduction: Spoken words are clear and intelligible throughout, but I would have loved to hear them just a tad stronger. Beggars can’t be choosers, right? Well we can! And I am!
Warner Bros. The Accountant 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray set features an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc with the film in 4K with HDR, a Blu-ray disc of the film in HD and a digital version of the film in Digital HD with UltraViolet. Remember to redeem the latter in VUDU for the UHD version of the film. The extras, all housed on the Blu-ray disc, are pretty light here. So without further ado let’s tackle the three of them down below.
- Inside the Man (HD, 10:38) – Here we get to uncover the secrets behind the unique action hero in this feature where cast and crew interviews talk about plot, motivations, autism, theme, etc. as well as behind the scenes during filming. Just in case you care Ben has his beard in this one too.
- Behavioral Science (HD, 8:04) – Here we get an inside look at how our hero’s autism condition in the film affects his behavior by hearing from Laurie Stephens, Phd. and how the filmmakers translated it all onto the big screen. It’s interesting to learn how many important people in our history were autistic. Laurie talks about how she worked with the actors and children in the film in regards to the condition. Ben also talks about all the research he did on it too.
- The Accountant in Action (HD, 7:14) – In this extra stunt and weapon specialists detail how specific training draws out the accountant’s talents and skills through the fight choreography employed in the film. It was really cool to see Ben flip this big, bad guy over his shoulders. Impressive!
So there you have it. We’ve seen Ben strap on the Batman tights twice in 2016 and both become a Jason Bourne and John Wick in The Accountant. What more can you ask for the man? Like Denzel was once upon a time he’s on fire! Truth be told then there’s absolutely nothing stopping me from recommending to you a purchase of The Accountant on the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format. While it may be a tad light on supplemental materials Warner Bros. still knocks it out of the ballpark with an exceptional audio and a somewhat improved video presentation (over its Blu-ray counterpart). So instead of asking yourself should I you should be asking yourself why the hell not. Buy!
It’s Just Another Day At The Office
When The Accountant Computes
on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray