Who knows what issues lies behind your tax returns, The Accountant knows. And this is no ordinary accountant.
The Accountant is a look into the world of forensic accounting. Introducing someone who is not what you expect from your average Apa or Qfa professional. Spoiler alert, I actually had to Google what those two qualifications meant and even now I’m still slightly confused. This is one accountant who helps sort out your tax returns while also having the ability to hit targets from over a mile away.
The plot’s MacGuffin involves two members of the Treasury Department who are after a mystery man. One who has been spotted with some of the world’s most dangerous criminals. The mystery man employs a number of different pseudonyms while the criminals simply refer to him as “an accountant” or for our own entertainment “The Accountant”. We soon learn that the person they seek is working in a dull, unassuming strip mall accountancy firm out of Illinois.
Through flashbacks, we are shown a young Christian Wolff (Seth Lee as a child and Ben Affleck as a man) with his parents at a private Neuroscience Institute. Where we discover that Christian is in fact on the autistic scale.
During these scenes, we learn a number of key plot points. Christian is a mathematical genius. But his autism has made it a struggle to form friendships with anyone apart from his younger brother. We do however see him strike up an instant bond with another young child with autism that he meets at the institute.
We also learn that his parent disagrees on his upbringing. His mother believes that he should stay at the institute but his military father disagrees. He tells his wife that Christian needs to overcome his condition through extreme physical stimulus rather than expecting the world to cater to his autism.
Further light is shone on the vicious disciplinary ideals of the father. He is shown to be a stern voiced military psychologist who insists on violently training his son. At one point encouraging a martial arts trainer to “peel back the layers” of Christian’s personality. The violent nature of his childhood leads us to the grown man the Treasury Department are seeking.
Wolff is encouraged by his handler, “The Voice”, to take on a consultancy role with global robotics company, Living Robotics. Here we’re introduced to a young junior accountant, Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick), who is responsible for finding a potential financial irregularity in the company’s books.
The plot soon takes a turn when we meet “The Assassin” ( Jon Bernthal), a corporate wet works specialist who works for the same employers as The Accountant. Soon, Christian learns that perhaps he should have stuck with what he knows best.
The movie is a mixed bag to be honest. It goes to great lengths to help audiences identify some of the more common signs of someone who is autistic.
Many reviewers have lauded Affleck’s portrayal of someone with autism and, based on my limited exposure to condition, I would have to agree. We’re told that his autism can mean that he doesn’t understand normal social cues. But there a number of points where he is shown to understand them more than the people he is talking to.
I wouldn’t say he gives a massive nuanced performance but he does at least give a more grounded movie representation of someone with autism. His performance isn’t one defined by his character being autistic as we would have seen from movies in the past.
My main issues with the film are the editing, plot progression, and timing. It seems sluggish at the best of times. The story and writing lend itself to a fast-paced edit from start to finish but that’s not what we get. Instead, scenes could have been much shorter and still have gotten their message across. The slow edit gives us an odd sense of awkwardness in some scenes where you wouldn’t expect to find it.
The supporting cast is good especially the always enjoyable Anna Kendrick. There is a chance of a romantic spin to the movie once her character is introduced but the ultra macho main theme to the movie has other ideas – a shame.
The trailers would have you believe Wolff is essentially a one-man army. Even the posters portrayed him sporting a large-caliber sniper rifle and tactical clothing. But that’s not really an accurate reflection of the film’s hero. Think more Jason Bourne than John Rambo.
Overall an interesting movie with some great sequences let down by some poor editorial choices.