The Accountant – 4 out of 5
Math and numbers stink. I couldn’t imagine a worst job than being an accountant. I say that because I'm terrible at math. I guess that’s why it’s not too hard to believe that, in this movie, an accountant is secretly a badass who kicks the ass of bad dudes (you know, because he's angry and full of aggression because he has to do math all day long). A little harder to believe is that Ben Affleck is a math savant—ha ha, I’m kidding. Ben Affleck is a really great actor who sadly had a bad string of films for a time period that made bad jokes like that possible but he has proven those jokes wrong thanks his incredible talents as a director and starring in better films. Seriously, Affleck, if you read this (and we all know you never will) you are a really talented guy and I think you’re a great Batman. I realize that the longer I sit here and sing Affleck’s praises the higher the chances this all sounds sarcastic but I swear I am being serious. Okay, I’ve been dumb long enough, let’s get to my review of The Accountant.
|Filmmaking shortcut: Glasses. It makes a character smart.|
Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) has a high-functioning form of Autism and uses it as a forensic accountant to various criminal enterprises. After being hired by a robotics company to investigate some discrepancies discovered by the in-house accountant Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrik), he stumbles upon a nefarious money embezzling scheme. This discovery makes him and Dana the target of a hitman (Jon Bernthal). Meanwhile, the director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (J.K. Simmons) and a data analysis (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) are hot on the trail of Wolff but the man possesses skills beyond being a wiz with numbers, some very lethal skills.
|Simmons is amazing in every role he plays...but can we get him back as J. Jonah|
for the new Spider-Man movies? Please?
The Accountant looked like a pretty cool action film from the trailers but there was one thing that kinda had me worried before I watched it. I’ll start by saying the film is a pretty great action feature that has some very wicked moments of ass-kickery. Additionally, the film has a great cast with the likes of Jeffrey Tambor and John Lithgow helping round out the list of talent. Finally, the film has a lot of potential to be a new franchise in the genre of action. Let’s face it, it’s been some time since we’ve had a new, memorable action hero that is capable of giving us a new franchise. Aside from John Wick, I can’t think of a single new action badass that has risen in the last few years that's been deserving of their own franchise (I’m not counting the comic book adaptations that are out there).
|I just like John Lithgow. I get giddy every time I see him pop up in a movie.|
The only problem I had with the film, and it was a concern going into it, is the fact that Wolff is Autistic. Don’t take that as if I have something against people with Autism but, rather, I have something against the way Autism is written about by screenwriters. Too often writers treat Autism like it is some secret superpower that gives those with the condition amazing brain abilities—often in the world of math. It’s pretty much become a trope and The Accountant is incredibly guilty of this. While there are elements of Wolff’s personality that feel like they were genuinely lifted from people who are on the spectrum, the film does falter with the misconception that those with Autism are automatically really good with numbers.
|Math wizard writes numbers on wall...I'm glad the action is good because|
this thing is loaded with cliches.
|"Ow, time out! I hurt my knee!"|
The film also has some additional issues with its story beyond the central idea that Christian Wolff is a man with high-functioning Autism. There are some development problems that concern Wolff’s background and a character that is connected to his past. Anna Kendrick’s character sorta feels superfluous at times and it kinda feels like the story could have easily existed without her (but I will admit that I’m glad they didn’t make her Wolff’s love interest). Finally, there’s a major reveal about Wolff and his connection to those hunting him and it’s lazily revealed through the means of “tell, don’t show.” However, these complaints are minor and didn’t really destroy my overall entertainment of the film.
While the way The Accountant handles Autism can be problematic at times, the overall film is very entertaining and does a great job of scratching an action itch. Every member of the cast is doing an amazing job—especially Affleck (I swear I am not being sarcastic in my praise of him) and the action has that no nonsense flair that is currently and quickly becoming the defining characteristic of modern day action films. Even with the small issues I had with the film, I found a movie that set up a new action star that has the potential to be a franchise player.