This weekend, there weren’t many new films that screamed must-see, but Gavin O’Connor’s new flick, The Accountant, was certainly the most intriguing one to be released and likely the best option of them all.
In The Accountant, Ben Affleck stars as Christian Wolff, a mysterious man who lives a double life. On the surface, he’s a regular boring accountant but, unbeknownst to most, he’s the guy criminals and large companies call when they need their accounting problems solved to avoid being prosecuted for various forms of wrongdoings. What makes Christian special is that he has a high functioning form of autism which grants him an intense focus that’s not only helped him develop a certain skillset, but it allows him to remain separate from most people and prevent connections from forming, allowing him to remain anonymous.
When Christian is hired by a large robotics company to fix their books, one of the partners in the company is killed and soon Christian, and a company accountant (Anna Kendrick), become targets because of what they know. It’s either kill or be killed so Christian must utilize his darker, intense side in order to survive and protect himself and this potential new friend. At the same time, the US Treasury Department begins to investigate Christian’s activities in an attempt to bring him to justice for aiding criminals in their pursuit of evading prosecution.
Honestly, this role couldn’t have been more perfect for Ben Affleck because it required no emotional range. His main purpose was to be a large, brooding figure who isn’t much for socializing. All he did throughout the film was kick ass and solve complex math problems. He had the required compulsions and routines in place that fit the autistic bill, so it was great to see that accurately displayed, but that’s about as much acting he had to do. He simply had to be reserved and then channel his batman role to get into character, which makes him a perfect choice for the film.
While not the most riveting or complex film you’ll see this year, I found The Accountant to be surprisingly fun. It has some great action scenes, Ben Affleck’s character actually feels rather new to the screen, and the banter throughout was fairly enjoyable. In fact, if you mashed up John Wick with Rain Man this film would be the result. Christian Wolff is an autistic John Wick and it makes for great entertainment.
As for the rest of Gavin O’Connor’s film, the feature has a killer cast including the likes of J.K. Simmons, John Bernthal, Jean Smart, John Lithgow, Jeffrey Tambor, and the aforementioned Anna Kendrick. While everyone’s acting is s fine, the characters they play are a little less interesting and doesn’t really give anyone an opportunity to work serious acting magic, it just isn’t that type of film. That being said, I did find their roles, no matter how small or large, to be amusing enough to keep the film above mediocrity.
SPOILER The film isn’t perfect and there’s plenty of ways one could nitpick it, but my main complaint has to do with the twist at the end. If Christian had been keeping tabs on his brother, how did he not know that he was the man hired to take Christian out? At some point it had to become clear but for some reason, this game changing element never cropped up. END SPOILER
While it may never amount to anything more than another film listed under Affleck’s filmography as an actor, The Accountant is one of the more enjoyable semi-mindless action flicks of this year. With a role perfect for Affleck’s style of acting, set pieces that show why Gavin O’Connor is always a solid choice for movies with action backdrops, and a story that feels rather different in a year saturated with sequels, requels and reboots, The Accountant is one movie worth checking out during a weekend with not much else on offer.