Review: the Accountant
The Accountant is the best film I have seen in a very long time. This crime drama is about puzzles. The puzzles of our youth, our families and of how to make meaningful personal connections. If this does not seem to jibe with the action-oriented view you see from the trailer, well then blame the trailer. In fact, I think the producers are doing themselves a disservice by positioning this film as just an action movie. It is a very good action movie, and much more. It is a drama that a wider audience can enjoy.
The Accountant is Christian Wolfe, delicately played by Ben Affleck, a high functioning autistic forensic accountant. Chris works for some very bad people to un-cook their books and help find money that someone in their organization has stolen. He can do this because he is a mathematics savant and extremely focused once he starts a task. If fact, he has to finish, or he can become very disturbed.
He is also very adept at protecting himself from his employers (drug cartels, arms dealers and terrorists). This is evident in the action sequences in the trailers. He is a consultant who has a British voiced agent providing him support via computer and phone. But something is going on here that is puzzling. Someone is also causing extreme harm to some of Chris’ nefarious clients, and appears to be tracking him for some reason.
The Accountant also has a pair of Treasury agents (J. K. Simmons and Cynthia Addai-Robinson) trying to track him down. Their puzzle is to find this accounting consultant who is helping some very illegal organizations cover up ill-gotten gains. But, how do you find someone who is very good at keeping out of site. For example, Chris has a trailer, loaded with cash, false IDs and weapons always at the ready whenever he has to disappear.
This by itself could make and engaging story. But we also see some of how Chris grows up. Besides being autistic, he is from a broken home with a father, who being in the Army, has some very severe views on how to help Chris and his brother deal with life’s cruel realities. We see part of why The Accountant becomes how he is, the good and bad.
But the most engaging part of this film is how difficult it is for Chris, and really any of us, to make connections to others. Chris has to push himself to appear “normal”, because as his father tells him, “you are different, and eventually different scares people.” But he does make connections, to his agent, to an older money landing expert he meets in prison. And to Dana (Anna Kendrick) another accountant in a seemly honest robotics firm that has hired him.
It is these scenes, of connections being struggled with, that make the action and the puzzles more satisfying. So much so that I will predict that the writer, Bill Dubuque, will definitely will be up for an Oscar this year. The director, Gavin O’Conner, and Ben Affleck should also be up for awards as well. The direction keeps you moving through the story while tantalizing you with clues as to the deeper puzzle of the film. And Affleck, plays this autistic/savant bad-guy-maybe- good-guy with restraint, humor and heart. We know that his character is killing people and helping criminals, but we like him and are hoping he is actually a very moral man.