Film Review – The Accountant (2016)

Define Normal?” as a character is asked to describe a young  Christian Wolff’s life. In Gavin O’Connor‘s  The Accountant is a little easier to describe, messy and far-fetched that struggles to find it’s identity.

Ben Affleck plays Christian Wolff, The Accountant an autistic savant man who works out of a small financial services office in an out of town mall. When we first meet him, everything looks above board, giving out advice to farming clients. Over time we learn this is the only cover for his true intentions, as he makes his living doing the books for crime lords and dodgy individuals worldwide.

We learn this information was introduced to the Treasury’s crime division who is now on his trail, led by Ray King (J.K Simmons) and Mary Beth Medina (Cynthia Addai-Robinson). When Christian learns there on his trail with help from the mysterious woman who gives him the ‘jobs’ he takes on a legitimate client. A medical prosthetics company lead by Lamar Blackburn (John Lithgow) who seem to be missing $60 million from their books.
the-accountant-window
When Christian starts to unravel the company’s irregularities, corruption, and deceit, he suddenly finds his services have been terminated.This unearth’s his other talent, as an assassin. With a mysterious hitman (Jon Bernthal) on his tail, he must protect the accountant clerk who has been helping him, Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick).

When you look at it on paper, The Accountant has a set up for it to be a totally bonkers movie, however, it’s a movie that can’t decide what it wants to be.It’s a slow burner that feels more at home with Anton Corbijn’s George Clooney lead The American, but this is not an arthouse thriller.

From the opening scene, we meet a young Christian, he’s special, his mother couldn’t cope with the way his father wanted to raise him.Through flashbacks, we learn his life was a traumatic one thanks to his father forcing him and his brother raised the military way. He takes them to Indonesia and subjects them to a beatdown by a monk which the monk even questions, only to continue thanks to the power of money.No son of an army man will be a freak.

The writing is on the wall or should I say for this movie on the window.It seems to be an unwritten law in movies if you have a character who may be a savant they must have a scene with them writing on a wall or window.

From these flashbacks, we do learn a lot about Christian’s Autism. His struggles to make eye contact with anyone, struggle to socially interact and the consequences when he tries (irony).
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We see he must have the regular routine. When things go wrong and routines are interrupted or he can’t finish tasks we see he holds that frustration until he gets home. In one disturbing, unsettling scene we see him self-harm beating himself with sticks and misses his medication.

There are also subplots that leave you puzzled, unsated especially Christian’s time in the Army as well his stint in prison.There is also the backstory with J.K Simmons character and his connection with Christian, a connection that feels so redundant apart from explaining why we get the opening scene.

When our Autistic assassin goes all out John Wick, this is when things truly get even more preposterous. What the whole movie does, is sum up how fractured Bill Dubuque‘s really is, nothing seems to add up as everything seems to be pulled in so many directions. The Accountant is an uneven, sloppy movie, with underwritten characters that are forgotten about soon as they leave the screen. So much unanswered.

★★ | Paul Devine

crime, drama, action | USA, 2016 | 15 | Warner Bros. | 4th November 2016 (UK) | Dir.Gavin O’Connor | Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, John Lithgow, Jon Bernthal, JK Simmons, Cynthia Addai-Robinson

Originally Posted at The Peoples Movies | 4th November 2016

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