And I’m back! After almost a year away busy writing a dissertation and trying my hand at foreign reporting while on exchange in Finland, here comes my review of Gavin O’Connor’s The Accountant.
Contrary to the largely negative reviews by critics marking this film as “unremarkable”, “unconvincing” and inconsistent (among other things), The Accountant is well worth a watch by anyone who enjoys thriller, action and a tad bit of romance all rolled into a film where every few minutes, it feels, someone gets shot by Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck), a savvy, small-town accountant who is way more complicated than first meets the eye – and that’s not just because of his high-functioning autism.
Wolff is a bit of a mystery (with an albeit colourful backstory), uncooking the books for some of the baddest criminals around, whilst staying off the radar thanks to a mysterious caller who calls him “Dreamboat”.
I’m positive his expert marksman and martial arts skills – courtesy of his equally as mysterious military father who never wanted him to be taken advantage of – did not go to waste either.
Sure, there may be an investigation into his dealings as “The Accountant”, spearheaded by veteran Treasury officer Ray King (J.K. Simmons) and not-so-willing sidekick Marybeth Medina (Cynthia Addai-Robinson), but he stays out of trouble thanks to his skills and our favourite “Caller-ID-restricted” voice.
Wolff has a good thing going in small-town Illinois until he picks up a ‘legitimate’ auditing job for a company called Living Robotics at the behest of the mysterious caller, and this is when the film really starts moving and things start spiraling out of control for Wolff.
Cue Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick), Living Robotics’ accountant and Wolff’s love-interest, who seems to have stumbled across something fishy.
What I truly enjoyed about this film, however, was not the unique plot – troubled autistic boy becomes sharpshooting, butt-kicking accountant – but the constant flashbacks to Wolff’s past, where we watched him navigate a world where his mother abandoned him and his little brother, leaving it to his father to teach them, rather harshly, to overcome their hardships. Such a past served to deepen Affleck’s character and reveal he was a little conflicted – he wanted to be the savvy accountant of the criminal underground, but hungered for a normal life.
The fact the film’s ‘ah-hah’ moments were teased out throughout the plot, rather than dumped in catastrophic fashion right at the end, also served to make this film enjoyable.
I was on the edge of my seat, nervously chewing my nails, instead of sitting back and waiting for the film to be over.
The only downside to this film, however, is Wolff’s seeming invincibility. You can’t throw that much at one person and then not see them crack. One brief breakdown and rough childhood flashbacks are simply not enough.
Overall, The Accountant is a film that, like its characters, is far more than first meets the eye and well worth the watch because of the mystery it both deepens and solves.