Archive for the ‘Gavin O’Connor’ Category

Solving the Jigsaw Puzzle

The Accountant

accountant

Director: Gavin O’Connor

Cast: Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J. K. Simmons, Jon Bernthal, Jeffrey Tambor, John Lithgow, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Jean Smart, Alex Collins

American director Gavin O’Connor likes to show the sources of fraternal fiction in his films. His most notable film Warrior was about two estranged brothers who reconnect over their hapless and heavy drinking father, in an Oscar nominated performance by Nick Nolte, who trains both his sons in a mixed martial arts tournament in New Jersey.

Now with a bigger budget and sleek production design, O’Connor teams up with A-List star Ben Affleck in the tense action thriller The Accountant set in Chicago enhanced by crisp cinematography by Seamus McGarvey.

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Oscar winner Ben Affleck (Argo, Good Will Hunting) plays the autistic and highly efficient Christian Wolfe, a maths savant who is hired by a shady Robotics company to do their books. While accounting does not sound sexy, The Accountant makes spreadsheets lethal and thrilling as he soon uncovers massive discrepancies in the company’s financials with the assistance of Dana Cummings played by Oscar nominee Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air).

Meanwhile, Treasurer Financial crimes investigator Ray King superbly played by Oscar winner J. K. Simmons (Whiplash) enlists the help of Marybeth Medina played by British actress Cynthia Addai-Robinson (Colombiana) to investigate the mysterious maths savant who has a perfect shot.

Medina soon uncovers who the real Christian Wolfe is, a money launderer and racketeer to some of the most dangerous organised crime syndicates internationally, the real reason why some of Wolfe’s clients can pay him in original paintings by Renoir and Jackson Pollock.

Through a series of flashbacks, O’Connor takes audiences into the troubled childhood of Wolfe who was brought up by his military trained father in a variety of exotic cities and teaches Christian and his younger brother Braxton how to survive in a hostile world.

The Accountant is a revealing action thriller held together by a tightly wound performance by Affleck as he battles not only the demons in his past but the current enemies in the shady corporate world, who will stop at nothing to silence the financial intrigue and cover up involved in taking a robotics company onto the New York stock exchange as a lucrative initial public offering.

Audiences should watch out for inventive cameo’s by Transparent star Jeffrey Tambor as Francis Silverberg and Fargo star Jean Smart as Rita Blackburn.

This is an engaging thriller which never loses hold of its numerous plot twists. The Accountant is an edge of your seat action movie in which all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle finally fit together at the end. An absorbing and gripping film with excellent sound effects.

 

Fraternal Force

Warrior

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Pride and Glory director Gavin O’Connor mixed martial arts film Warrior saw Nick Nolte garner a 2012 Oscar Nomination for Best Supporting Actor and is an engaging film about two estranged brothers who eventually reunite not so much in a domestic arena, but in the world of SPARTA or Mixed Martial arts fighting.

Brendan Conlon is a popular Pittsburgh physics high school teacher battling to pay the mortgage played by Australian actor Joel Edgerton, last seen in the gripping Melbourne crime thriller Animal Kingdom. His character is introduced as he teaches a class of students an important law of physics – Force = Mass+ Acceleration, and this formula could really signify the relationship that Conlon has with his younger brother Tommy Reardon played with an appealing physicality by British actor Tom Hardy, recently seen in This Means War and as the villain Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. Reardon after an elusive tour in Iraq has returned to the US under a cloud of suspicion, which serves as one of the narrative threads of the film and seeks shelter with his father recovering alcoholic and ex-boxer Paddy Conlon brilliantly played by Nick Nolte.

As Warrior progresses, the relationship between the father and his two estranged sons is explored amidst an ongoing battle not just to heal old wounds but to also to prove their fighting skills, both physically and emotionally as the showdown for the Sparta championships in Atlantic City takes place. A couple of directorial flourishes adds to the build up  and suspense of this fighting narrative whilst carefully maintaining the right balance of physical aggression and emotional depth  as events in both Pittsburgh and Atlantic City unfold and the brothers are forced to confront themselves and more importantly deal with all the pain that an abusive father has caused them.

The suspense is terrific in Warrior and while some of the plot points like Tommy’s Iraq escapade is slightly contrived, the film as a whole is a gripping testimony to the fraternal force that binds the two men as they compete in a physical arena, while their father has to contend with his own personal demons. Warrior is highly recommended for those who liked films like Rocky, Million Dollar Baby and The Champ and is held together by a superb performance by Nolte along with rising stars Edgerton and Hardy whose physical endurance and emotional range is equally captured to make the film’s final showdown riveting entertainment.

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