The Accountant

Ben Affleck in The Accountant.
Ben Affleck in The Accountant.
Photo: Facebook/The Accountant Movie


The Accountant




4/5 Stars


As Cristian Wolff (Ben Affleck), a math savant with an unusual disorder, uncoils the books for a new client, the Treasury Department with a new detective leading the investigation (Marybeth Madina) closes in on his activities and the body count starts to rise. 


This is not your average “skop, skiet & donner” movie and a perfect example of an action film loaded with substance and a deeper subtext, something we don’t get to see that often anymore when it comes to action blockbusters. From the first few seconds of the film, the viewer senses there is much more to the film than just the typical action scenes. Director Gavin O’Conner is known by his previous films as a well-crafted director and does an excellent job at merging strong dramas with other genres in order to perfect the balance of film as art as well as entertainment. 

The film is so to say the ultimate package with a good director, good leading actor, and an all-star cast. It is an intellectual movie about a young boy growing up with mental problems. The boy grows up and becomes an outstanding accountant. Due to his prodigy-like talents with numbers, he ends up working with shady characters and for some reason always ends up with his clients wanting to kill him. But accountant Christian Wolff is far more capable of just sums and numbers. With the bad guys and the IRS being on his tail after yet another encounter with a company he really thought would be clean this time, he is now made vulnerable by a cute co-worker, Dana (Anna Kendrick). Dana has some of his math savvy and Wolff might just have a soft spot for her.

This bit of a romantic undertone is done very beautifully and subtle and not in the normal cheesy manner as we so often see in action films. It is pleasant not to be bothered by heavy sex scenes, as we are used to in the James Bond films, when the complications are of the cerebral, themselves the core of pleasure in this brainy, but not too, action drama.

Every now and again throughout the film we get to see some backstory and subtext on Wolff as a young autistic child being raised by an unsympathetic merciless military father, who like most of the characters in this film, is a broken figure with both pros and cons. No black and white here when it comes to protagonists and antagonists.

Ben Affleck does an outstanding and Oscar-worthy job at portraying his character and is both engaging and mesmerising. Credit should also be given to the younger version of Wolff, Seth Lee. The film looks ascetically pleasing as well and cinematographer Seamus Mc Garvey did an excellent job at contributing to Wolff’s character and his disorder through cinematography, whenever he and his milieu are depicted. Jumping between past and present in a film as often as in The Accountant can be a risky move for the filmmaker, as it can easily become messy or confusing for the viewer, but transitions here are smooth and fluid. 

Gavin O’Conner laid specific commentary and underlining subtext about mental illness, such as autism, in young children, how parents should treat it and how the children themselves cope with their situations.  There is another beautiful little subplot that comes through towards the end with government official, Ray King (J.K Simmons) and his own compelling story, but unfortunately lacks a bit more conviction.

The film delivered in ways I was not expecting. There are moments of laughing, cheering, crying, and ultimately the viewer will walk away feeling more than satisfied.


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