Movie Review: ‘The Accountant’
Now that he is The Batman, Ben Affleck has to choose his in-between projects carefully. They have to be special in that they need to caress his desire to stretch himself artistically as a thespian. He definitely achieved that with The Accountant, which is sandwiched between Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and the upcoming Justice League, which finds him donning the Batsuit once again. He also has his next directorial effort coming soon, Live by Night.
Affleck is Christian Wolff, a man who has struggled with autism his whole life. Most clearly, he is a genius within the world of numbers and mathematics and he uses those skills, and years of working with his affliction, to become an accountant. But that small town CPA is merely a cover. He is actually a specialist hired by unsavory types the world over to cook their books and seek out where money is leaking. It’s dangerous work, but that’s okay. Thanks to years of hard love and hardcore physical training by his military father (along with his brother); Christian is also a gifted killer. This guy can more than defend himself.
Ray King, a Treasury agent (J.K. Simmons, doing his supremely perfected government enforcer role), has made it his life mission to track down The Accountant. He gets help when Marybeth (Cynthia Addai-Robinson), a young agent trying to get ahead while keeping her past at bay, is coerced to join his mission to take down this mysterious individual who has escaped capture for years.
The two sides are on a collision course that becomes clear when Wolff is asked to look into the accounting practices of a large company led by Lamar Black (John Lithgow). A red flag went up when an accountant for his company (played ever-plucky by Anna Kendrick) “sticks her nose where she shouldn’t” and finds money missing where there should be tens of millions.
The Accountant is not just a run-of-the-mill actioner. In fact, it has a lot of smarts going for it. It largely works due to the stellar and inspired performance of Affleck. His take on Wolff could have been a caricature in two-dimensions. But, instead it is a deeply rich turn that is a tribute to the millions who suffer from being on the autism spectrum. It is cinema’s first hero from that world and he does all those who live with this ailment serious justice as well as serving as someone to look up to on the big screen.
Besides Affleck, the cast is strong. Jon Bernthal’s Brax is quite a standout. The actor, who first gained recognition on The Walking Dead, has done nothing but increase his cache in turns since — including stellar turns in Sicario, Me, Earl and the Dying Girl, Fury and The Wolf of Wall Street. His work in The Accountant continues that hot streak. Also impressive is Addai-Robinson. She and Oscar winner Simmons have quite the rapport, so keep an eye on her in the coming years.
Gavin O’Connor (Warrior) directs with a firm hand and plays the balance between cerebral action and physical action expertly. The thing that detracts from the film a bit is its constant flashbacks and playing with time. Between going through Wolff’s youth and establishing why he is the way he is and the shifting of the time narrative in the present, The Accountant drags where it should steamroll.
The biggest takeaway from the movie is that it clearly took painstaking steps to portray someone on the autistic spectrum with the care it deserves. Wolff is a functioning individual in our society, who after years of therapy and daily work, is managing to not only live his life, but to flourish in it. Not only is he doing what he is good at, but also what he loves.
Content from our partners
ScreenPicks is a subsidiary of AllMediaNY.com