The Birth of A Nation (♦♦♦♦): Young Nat Turner is the preacher of his small community of slaves. Due to an arrangement with the priest, Sam Turner, Nat's owner, accompanied by Nat, travels to other farms in the county so he can charge money in exchange for Nat's services as preacher for other slave owners. What Sam doesn't realize is that a slave rebellion is brewing, and Nat, from experiencing so many injustices first hand, will become its leader.
Written, directed, and wonderfully acted by Nate Parker in the leading role, The Birth of A Nation is not only a movie that makes you think, but it is also one that will stay with you long after the credits roll. It is not an easy watch; there is plenty of violence in all forms, but it is far from gratuitous, and it justifies the choices that Nat Turner makes in the end.
It is such a shame that this movie and its filmmakers were marred by controversy, because it is the type of movie that does well at the Oscars. In a time when racial tensions are at their highest, it pays off to reflect back to what started it all.
Denial (♦♦♦♦): When American, Jewish scholar of the Holocaust, Deborah Lipstadt, was sued for libel on a British court by Holocaust denier David Irving, her defense legal team had the task of proving, using the limited historical proofs available, that the Holocaust indeed happened.
Exceedingly well acted by Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson, and Timothy Spall, in the leading roles, Denial lays out before its audience a solid, convincing case that is not only food for thought, but a powerful court-room drama as well.
The Accountant (♦♦♦♦): Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) is a high functioning autistic savant. He makes an honest living as an accountant. On the side, he is the freelance accountant that criminal organizations the world over call for when their money books aren't in order.
In an attempt to do some legitimate business, Wolff accepts a contract to go over the books of a robotics conglomerate. Dana, a young accountant clerk (Anna Kendrick) with the firm, has discovered a missing trail of money. Before Wolff's work is done, however, the body count starts rising, and he finds out that he and Dana have targets on their heads.
The Accountant is, without doubt, one of my top favorite movies of 2016. I have seen it 2 or 3 times already. It is a thriller with some smart thrown in, and solid performances by an all-star cast composed by Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons, John Lithgow, and Ben Affleck in the leading role.
Ben Affleck has never been more aptly cast. His outer demeanor is not that expressive, and that's exactly what this character requires. Every facial motion is measured, even the shadow of a smile at the end of the movie is something treasured. I got to say, I liked him very much in Hollywoodland (his best yet), Argo and The Town, yet not so much in Batman, but I loved him in The Accountant.