The Accountant is a movie that is as ridiculous and incoherent as it is sincere.
Ben Affleck plays the eponymous accountant, Christian Wolff, an autistic savant gifted with the powers of mathematical and financial wizardry. When he was young, his father had made the decision to not allow his autistic son to work with a one specialising helping people with autism and instead has decided to give him the Gunnery Sergeant Hartmen routine of militant training and discipline.
Now older, he makes a living as an accountant for the not so friendly, very dangerous sort of people and now has the government investigating into his line of work. Thus, Christian takes on a legitimate client to appear clean.
This movie has the makings of a stone faced action flick, an investigative thriller, a rather screwed up family drama and an awkward romantic comedy but sadly, it doesn’t exactly fulfill either and instead we get a film with redundant subplots and a messy explosion of narrative and tone.
I think the film got self-aware and gave up on being a serious action thriller near the end when it reveals an awfully convenient plot twist that is so absurd it becomes funny.
Within the film there is the subplot of the government authorities chasing after and investigating Christian. It is headed by the treasury agent Raymond King, played by J.K. Simmons and a Marybeth Medina, played by Cynthia Addai-Robinson. This entire segment of the film is rather redundant and pointless to the entire narrative and it seems it is only there to serve as a platform for exposition info dump about certain aspects of Christian’s life and to further glamorise Christians abilities.
Well, the film also makes use of quite a bit of flashbacks to tell Christian’s backstory. And while they are absolutely fascinating to watch, they confuse me quite a bit considering that the perspective is not really made clear in these flashbacks. Making me unsure of which kid in the flashback is the brother and which is Christian. Once, we saw the story of the flashback from the perspective of the father who was in a car with his two children outside.
It is quite confusing and jarring.
But, despite the many flaws of the film, it feels surprisingly sincere. It aspires to be some kind of a spokesperson for the Autistic community, with its main character an being an autistic with skills and abilities almost mythologised by those investigating him as a batman level superpower. Albeit, I don’t think it is all so successful in doing so considering the fact that the film is much more fascinated by the many superhuman feats performed by Christian rather than sympathizing with the human conditions and circumstances that would arise from being autistic. (Although it does attempt, just not all that well.)
The Accountant has a fascinating concept. To give a socially inept genius the skills of a one man army. This is a action hero that clearly subverts tropes. He has a pocket protector, has the special need to complete a project once he takes it and will probably even be able to find work as a human calculator if need be. Hell, this film even has a serious accounting montage with Christian writing financial information and analysis all over the glass walls. It’s absurd and it’s wonderful.
But the execution is far too broken for the film to be considered a worthwhile experience. If only there was more focus placed on the core narrative and less time spent on unnecessary subplots. But still, The Accountant is still the better film when compared to the abomination which is Batman V Superman. It is much more sincere and earnest. Though, considering the fact that we have to pay to watch movies and how expensive movie tickets are, the sincerity is still not worth the watch.