Darke Reviews | A Simple Favor (2018)

I happened upon this trailer only a few weeks ago and I was immediately curious about what the unfolding of the story would look like. Kendrick is always solid in anything she does, usually giving a stand out performance above and beyond her co stars; while Lively won me over in Age of Adeline and The Shalllows. I know Kendrick and Lively have been doing the rounds and marketing the film, but I’ve missed all of it; somewhat intentionally so I could enjoy the movie for what it wanted to do and bring me along on the journey of uncovering the mystery of what the simple favor might be and its results.

Was it worth the anticipation?

First we need to understand it was based on a book by Darcey Bell that I shall never likely read. It was adapted for the screen by Jessica Sharzer, who was a writer on a handful of episodes of American Horror Story and the 2016 movie Nerve that had some interesting ideas going for it. While I will never know what the material covered, I can say with confidence that Sharzer did an excellent job writing a screenplay for a suspense mystery that has an air of comedy to it that shouldn’t be possible with the directions it takes, but rides the line so deftly I cannot fault it. I often critique movies on tonal issues and had this one not been so intentional in its scripting it would have received the same such complaint. The script here is tight, and no I am not getting into the story beyond the trailer – Spoilers duh, but I don’t think there’s a single scene worth putting on the cutting room floor or a moment of dialogue I really found cringeworthy.

Surprisingly, some of the credit here goes to 2016 Ghostbusters director Paul Feig. Interesting and unrelated note, it is now getting the subheading of “Ghostbusters: Answer the Call”.  This makes Feigs first movie without Melissa McCarthy (The Heat, Spy, and Ghostbusters) since  2011, also while being his 4th film since then too. *sigh* He is not what I would call and inspired director, as the movie is largely shot as you would a rom-com or his usual fair within the cinema with static camera shots and a film almost entirely filmed from a medium shot, or close ups in a standard 180 back and forth. There were some hints of growth with a POV tracking shot or a slight sideways camera move, but not enough to call the movie thrilling in that aspect. What he can do, and proved in the only other film of his I’ve seen, is still get layered and nuanced performances from his cast. He brought the humor to the edge of too much a few times, but reeled it in at the last second all the while still giving us something to figure out and displaying the changes in our characters as the movie and mystery unfolds.

Kendrick and Lively are perfect together. Their scenes are endearing as you watch these polar opposite characters engage with each other and the evolution of Kendricks character Stephanie through the film. Watching that was truly a joy and so much beyond script and direction comes down to the levels that Anna Kendrick can bring to the screen. Also worth mentioning this is not a Blake Lively performance I have ever seen before and it is absolutely knocked out of the park. No one else in the film comes close, though Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians) does his best. He is given more to do here than he was in that film, and the range is there. I would love to see him with a stronger director and different style of film to really understand what he can do. Granted I might be biased as his accent is to die for.

The movie does have its flaws though. As I said the camera work is uninspired and quite honestly, there’s a few things I would have loved to see them have the boldness to do. The pacing is brisk, but the editing is solid. One of the other highlights of the film in the technical aspect is the costuming, when you go see this pay attention to both our main female leads and watch what they wear as there’s very intentional craftsmanship in their costuming and make up through the film.


This movie is the quiet dark horse of the weekend. It doesn’t cross the line The Predator did by going full comedy-action (in that priority order) and isn’t a historical mob drama, but I think it is quite likely one of the best releases we are going to get this September. This is not a mediocre film by any stretch, its both enjoyable and engaging; while still drawing you into the mystery and the lives of the charactrers. It has intent and effort that should be rewarded.

Should I see it?

Yes. No questions. Yes.

Would you see it again?


Buying it then? 

No doubts.

You haven’t been this excited in a month; whats up?

The movie does a lot of things that speak to my interests across the board. It tells a story that just grabs me and takes me to the dark places I want to see characters go; even if it keeps on the guard rails. That’s the big flaw, it still is safe; beyond that it had me. I liked it.

Also special thanks to the unofficial girls night that lead to this and the friend who organized it and the other who joined us for the first time. I look forward to future engagements.

Darke Reviews | The Accountant (2016)

Miss me? I know I know, just been a helluva week I would rather forget since returning from the vacation. I wish I could forget things, but my memory says no to that. I came across a trailer for this a few weeks ago, and this largely seems to be slipping under a lot of peoples radars.

“I’m going to see the Accountant.”

“Didn’t you do your own taxes?”

*heavy sigh*

It has a pretty tight cast, an intriguing trailer, and what by appearances seems to be a ‘semi-positive’ take on Autism.

But how was it?

The script, written by Bill Dubuque (The Judge), follows a few interlacing threads most of which center on The Accountant (Affleck) and his ties to various organized crime as well as his skills in reviewing and cooking books for his clients, both legitimate and illegitimate. I would classify this as a thriller-action in that particular order, as the action pieces are few and far between and used to move the story forward as the mysteries of the movie and motivations of each of the characters unravels for the audience. The story itself is original, with beats recycled from a dozen other movies; but done so in a way that tells something I haven’t quite seen but is familiar and relatable.  If anything is a miracle here, Dubuque made filing taxes and reviewing spreadsheets look and sound amazingly interesting. Truth be told, forensic accounting *is* amazingly interesting, but this is from a girl who loves spending her days trying to uncover what’s actually happening in scenarios she’s presented.

Granted to take the otherwise solid material and make it pop takes a decent director, which we have Gavin O’Connor (Warrior, Miracle). He does a rather good job with alternating between medium length stationary cameras and moving them with the on screen motion. The work there kept the movie interesting as the story unfolds for us as did his direction for the actors. Each performance felt particularly earnest, with one exception which wasn’t quite adding up with the others, but was still good acting. I was not a fan of the diluted palette of the film as it didn’t seem to serve a purpose to me other than washing out the colours of the overall work. Going back to the subject of camera work the “wobbly cam” while not as painful as full on shaky cam was a distinct departure from otherwise good camera work and distinctly noticeable when used. I feel he was inspired by the amazingly shot John Wick for a lot of what was executed here.

Acting wise Affleck turned out a good performance, but I have to lean to my friends who are on the spectrum or have children on the spectrum to tell me if it was accurate. They seemed to treat it well, but that isn’t for me to judge. Anna Kendrick as forensic accountant Dana Cummings is charming as usual and is actually a really rich character; but even the hint of setting her up as a romantic interest for Affleck is a touch annoying. Yes, in real life people with 13 year age differences get together all the time and its fine. In movies, in Hollywood, they generally refuse to cast actresses near the leads age or older for romance….for reasons. No good reasons, just reasons. Again the fault here isn’t on the actors who both do really well, just the nudge in the direction of romance didn’t need to be there for this to work.

J.K. Simmons is not demanding pictures of Spiderman here, but instead a member of the treasury department looking for the Accountant for his own mysterious reasons. Aided by a member of his division, played by Cynthia Addai Robinson (Amanda Waller from Arrow) they try to piece together who he is and what he is. Both performances and characters were everything I needed from them and were absolutely engaging. We also have the addition of Jon Bernthal (Netflix Punisher, The Walking Dead) as a contractors whose job intersects with the accountant; who does just as well and made me smile with his delivery and just general character performance.


This is the Batman movie we deserve. Seriously. The Accountant must be detective and bad ass. I found myself really enjoying the film end to end with only a few sighs at some of the beats.

As I stated before, I can’t speak on the treatment of autism within the narrative, but from what I do know it seems to be treated respectfully. Yes, its a plot device to a point but isn’t the sum of the parts. The dialogue describing the condition late in the film seems to be on par with what I have heard from more progressive medical experts. I really would like some of my friends out there who do have  a point of view to share it if they see this.

Overall, this is a really good movie with only a few flaws to it, but none so grievous as to say no or reduce my enjoyment. It does have less action than you might think, but it has a really good paced structure to it and I didn’t notice the time passing.

Should you see it?

If you like thrillers or thriller action? Yes. Ben Affleck – yes. Honestly, its just a solid movie that absolutely met expectations (which I thought would be good/interesting) and I think it needs some credit.

Will you buy it on BluRay?

Yep. It has some good rewatch value.

Any other reviews coming?

I should be seeing Ms Peregrine this weekend, possibly Little Sister and Girl on the Train, but Ms Peregrine to be sure.

What about Dr. Strange in November?

There’s a whole post coming on that one.