Movie review: Affleck delivers as ‘The Accountant’
–Ben Affleck is a somewhat under rated actor. He hasn’t always been in the greatest projects, but his talent often makes up for deficiencies in the script. Take for example “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” which debuted this Spring. While the story was often underwhelming, his take as a grizzled, older Batman was one of the most compelling things in the film.
The story for “The Accountant” is better. It’s a more fascinating production and story, but it’s still Affleck’s ability to slide into a complex character that really helps make it work.
This isn’t the movie you might expect, but it’s a story that pulls you in and keeps you hooked to the end.
The film focuses on Christian Wolff (Affleck), a savant of an accountant that has trouble connecting with people. He’s got a high-functioning form of Autism that leaves him socially awkward but able to solve even the most complex math puzzle.
That gives him a unique skill set that has him in demand among select clientele. He un cooks the books for some of the world’s most dangerous criminals, and takes referrals from legitimate clients as well. Soon he’s tapped to figure out what’s wrong with the books for a robotics company. While it seems to be a legitimate assignment at first, the conspiracy goes deeper than expected.
While at the company, Wolff connects with Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick), a junior accountant who first discovered the irregularities. Wolff feels a connection to Dana, even as their journey pulls them closer toward danger.
Through flashbacks, we see Wolff’s childhood and begin to understand how his father (Robert C. Treveiler) helped form him into the man he has become.
At the same time a Treasury Agent (JK Simmons) is hot on the trail, trying to find the accountant that seems to be in such high demand among the world’s most dangerous men and groups.
There’s not a lot to be said about the plot that won’t give the story away, so I’ll leave it at that. I’ll say that the film has a bit deeper mystery than what the trailer makes it seem. It’s also a more fascinating look at a particular kind of character.
I heard someone say of this film how refreshing it is to see a character with Autism played so authentically, and I think that’s a credit to writer Bill Dubuque and director Gavin O’Connor, as well as Affleck. They work hard in the film to capture Wolff’s unique difficulties in connecting with the larger world, and the ways he’s learned to work to make himself fit in to the society. That is one of the fascinating aspects of the film.
Affleck is also smooth as an action hero in this film. There is a part of this character and his action that feels very much like a covert agent, and Affleck handles the action sequences well. This is a film that feels grounded in the real world and interested in exploring this character and story, and it accomplishes that goal well.
We’ve entered a time of year when we’re getting richer, deeper stories, and “The Accountant” fits that mold. It’s a well done movie that pulls you in with its story and characters, and delivers some strong performances.
In addition to Affleck, who’s great in the lead role, I thought the supporting actors did a nice job, too. Kendrick is solid in a different kind of role, while John Lithgow, Jon Bernthal and Simmons all do a nice job in supporting roles as well.
This is a film that delivers what you’d expect and does it in an entertaining and enjoyable way.
“The Accountant” has been rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America for strong violence and language throughout. Enter with caution.
Three stars out of four.