The Accountant movie full length review - Bringing a Truly Unique Main Character to the Table, The Accountant Works Completely as both a Cool Character Study and a Gritty Action Movie
When I first saw the trailer for The Accountant, I didn't think it looked like an action movie. It looked more like a drama with some action sprinkled in.
It had a good leading man in Ben Affleck, a good twist on a protagonist (the character of Christian Wolff has high functioning autism) and an underrated director in Gavin O'Connor who made one of my favourite movies called Warrior. Having seen the movie now, The Accountant is almost equal parts drama and action. Many movies try to achieve that balance but few can nail it. I'm happy to report that The Accountant sticks that landing, there is so much here across the board. I left the theatre not only thoroughly impressed with the movie but actually hoping that we would get to see a sequel with this character. This might not be the most popular movie at the box office right now but I have a feeling that this movie will find its audience.
*Minor Spoilers Ahead* Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) is no ordinary accountant. His intellect is amazing, he does complicated puzzles in seconds when it would usually take hours. He's amazing with numbers, so much so he can figure out years worth of accounting books when it would almost be a suicide mission for your average CPA. The catch is that he has a high functioning form of autism. It makes him more susceptible to certain things like bright lights and loud noises. He has difficulty socializing and he can't handle not being able to finish tasks. He was diagnosed as a child where his dad (Robert C. Trevelier) and his mom took him to a special privately funded school. His mom was in favour of it but his dad felt like he needed a more real-world education and refused. He was trained to defend himself by several teachers (martial arts, marksmanship among others) and resist his weaknesses. Combined with his genius level intellect, it makes him an almost unstoppable covert agent although he isn't loyal to a government. He takes justice into his own hands.
After helping a nice older couple make it through a tough time, Christian decides to take a freelance contract job for a robotics company. They are led by founder Lamar Black (Jon Lithgow) and they are in need of his skills. They've found a 60 million dollar shortfall which was discovered by one of their own in their accounting department Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick). This would be a daunting task for anyone except Christian who is balancing several things at once. He's trying to keep his symptoms in check, practising his skills with his weaponry and looking out for the next mark while trying to defend himself from his previous clientele. Add onto this that the head of the U.S. Treasury Department Crime Division Ray King (J.K. Simmons) and analyst Marybeth Medina (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) are trying to track him down and things are very unorthodox and very difficult in the world of Christian Wolff.
I said above that if you watched the trailers and didn't know anything about the source material, you wouldn't think that this was an action movie. There's more than just a small dose of it here and it looks great. It's very violent in a down-to-earth type of way. The choreography is tight and although there is some shaky cam, I never had a problem seeing what was going on or who was kicking whose @$$. It's a testament to Gavin O'Connor who was able to really deliver some great action scenes in Warrior and excels again. People beat each other with toilet lids, belts and the gun play packs a punch. It was nothing short of impressive.
Another thing The Accountant accomplishes is that it has a hero with a developmental disorder. Instead of poking fun at this or brushing it aside, I think the movie does an excellent job of showing what autism is and how people with autism should be treated with respect. They really craft an interesting protagonist and his intellect far surpasses anyone else in the movie. He has his problems but he's absolutely a great character. If I'm being honest, the movie does treat him like a superhero with the training he gets and his wide variety skill-set but I never had a problem with that. The movie is never completely plausible but I would argue that it's not anymore unrealistic than Jason Bourne. I definitely want to see Christian in more movies, they can take his character so many different directions and I hope we get that opportunity.
To go with some great action and interesting characters, you get some pretty great acting in The Accountant. Ben Affleck is giving a pretty low-key performance but its not without a lot of effort. He's really consistent and he has a lot of charm and heart as Christian. Anna Kendrick is well used as Dana. She works great with Ben Affleck and the movie doesn't overplay their relationship. Jon Bernthal is great in his small part. I'm a big fan of his and he delivers typically excellent work. I really liked Jeffrey Tambor in his small role. He doesn't get a lot of screen time but he makes the most of it. I also like J.K. Simmons and Cynthia Addai-Robinson in the movie. Their characters are handled in an odd way but I can see why, their intentions really can't be revealed earlier so it was just a little hard to grasp what was going on with them but I was also okay with it.
Top to bottom this is a really good movie. It surpassed my expectations and delivered a more diverse and interesting film. I would actually give it an 8.5/10 but because of the handling of a few twists at the end, I can't quite give it a 9. I would still recommend it highly though, check it out if you get a chance.