A Year in Shorts Day 63: "The Accountant"
As far as I’m concerned, there are two types of people in the world- people who like Walton Goggins and people who love him. Arguably one of the most beloved character actors working today, Goggins has proven himself to be an adept actor of considerable range. From charming hucksters to psychotic killers to lovable sitcom dads, one has to ask- Is there anything the man can’t do? If you answered “Produce an Academy Award winning short”, you would be very wrong, as proven by today’s film, The Accountant.
Released in 2001, The Accountant was written and directed by similarly beloved character actor Ray McKinnon, who also plays the title role. It tells the story of the O'Dell brothers, Tommy (Goggins) and David (Eddie King), who are driven to desperate measures to save their family farm. Enter The Accountant, a mysterious man who helps people with their financial troubles using his rather creative methods.
What follows is a pretty funny short which can best be described as "Coen Brothers Lite", and honestly that's not a bad thing to be. It's certainly a lot more than most filmmakers can manage. (Incidentally, isn't it strange how Walton Goggins has never been in a Coen Brothers film? What's up with that?) The dialogue has a nice lyrical quality to it, and in addition to the darkly comic exchanges one expects from these type of films there's also some good exchanges on cultural perceptions of the American South and corporate exploitation of farmers. If you liked Hell or High Water, you should like this.
As the titular character, Ray McKinnon certainly gets the best material to work with (that's what happens when you cast yourself in the script you wrote), and fans of long rambling speeches about esoteric topics will certainly get a hoot out of some of his rants. McKinnon's directing is solid without being showy, and the story takes a couple of interesting turns you might not expect. It's a solid story told well, and sometimes that's all you need.
Is The Accountant a great short? No. Did it deserve the Oscar that year? Not in my opinion; I probably would have given it to Copy Shop. But of course that would always be a long shot, and it's hard to begrudge them giving the win to The Accountant instead. I think the film might run a bit too long, but I guess there are worse things in the world than too much of a pretty good thing.
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"The Accountant" is available to stream on Amazon Prime and Tubi
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