Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) is an accountant. No – don’t run away yet! As the posters for a movie with a less-than-exciting title were keen to show: this CPA is rather mean and carries a VERY large gun!
There’s always something extremely satisfying about seeing the bad guys get their comeuppance. When the ‘hero’ is someone marginalised by society, getting his own back at the ‘bullies’, all the better. Because Wolff is autistic, you see: a genius with numbers, but thoroughly mystified with people (and quite frankly aren’t we all, at least sometimes!).
Through flashbacks – relatively well done, spread throughout the movie – we see glimpses of Wolff’s childhood: freaking out over a missing jigsaw piece, diagnosed as having ‘more in common with Einstein’ (although in the trailer, I think that particular lined failed to make the movie), and his father’s extreme ideas on ‘normalising’ his son in preparation to function in the world.
And it kind of works: Wolff trains himself to make eye contact once in a while, to parrot the small talk that people seem to expect, and all manner of ‘normal’ behaviours he fundamentally just does not ‘get’. With his ‘unique set of skills’, and via circumstances revealed only as the movie goes on, Wolff has become the go-to man for mobsters, criminals, and warlords with money woes, which brings him – or rather, the shadowy presence he maintains – onto the radar of the US Treasury Department.
At the same time, he’s called in to a legitimate case when a large robotics firm thinks it may have some cash irregularities. But strangely enough, it’s this un-shadowy job that seems to come with more dead bodies than even Wolff is used to…
I was pleasantly surprised by The Accountant – it was highly entertaining, but also just a little bit clever. Affleck is pretty good in the role (and in interviews points out that it took buddy Matt Damon two films – Good Will Hunting and Bourne – to cover the same ground as he gets into this one!), with some great support from JK Simmons and Anna Kendrick. I can’t really pass comment on the portrayal of autism here, but I definitely sympathised with the character a great deal.
I suspect some people might find bits a little predictable – I had guessed a few things quite early on, but am pretty good at not letting that spoil the movie for me – and I did feel that a lot seemed to happen right at the very end, and yet nothing that could have really moved any earlier without interrupting a pretty decently-told story.
Much, much better than Jack Reacher, imo – recommended!
Released: 4th November 2016
Viewed: 4th November 2016
Running time: 128 minutes
My rating: 8/10