Part Leon the Professional, part Rain Man, The Accountant is a masterful action thriller that will require multiple viewings to fully appreciate.
Taken at a surface level, the film is engaging. The Accountant isn’t a fist fight shoot out every other scene type of action drama. Director Gavin O’Connor (Warrior) uses the action as a tool to further the story instead of a crutch to make flimsy material more tolerable.
O’Connor trusts his storytelling ability and Bill Dubuque’s (The Judge) script to keep the audience intrigued. Dubuque sprinkles in flashbacks well that accomplish the goal of retaining interest without disrupting the film’s flow.
Ben Affleck (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) plays Christian Wolff, a whiz with numbers with a high-functioning autism. He leads a simple, streamlined life that’s so basic he’s got one set of silverware, a plate and a week’s worth of clothes. Christian doesn’t believe in excess.
Christian’s also a bit of a nomad as a freelance accountant fixing the books for several notorious international figures. Not that he’s in any real danger. Beyond honing his accounting skills, Christian is highly competent with a number of firearms and a deadly precise fighter.
The latter is attributed to his childhood as an army brat constantly on the move with his father (Robert C. Treveiler). Christian’s father is a matter-of-fact man who understands the world won’t coddle his son. Without sermonizing, Dubuque thoughtfully tackles the worldview of developmental disorders.
Affleck has a challenging role here. He has to convey Christian as different without exaggerating it to the point of a caricature. He succeeds with subtle physical movements and an underlined calmness.
This is one of Affleck’s better performances because he’s not being too obvious. And his second act of his career as a kick-a$$ action here has surprisingly been a tremendous fit.
O’Connor also shines in his depiction of the action. It’s competently shot with an emphasis on efficiency and speed without being so quick that it’s indecipherable. That’s the issue that’s plagued Affleck’s buddy Matt Damon in the recent Jason Bourne films.
Christian gets called in by a high-end robotics company to investigate a million dollar discrepancy discovered by accounting clerk Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick). Dubuque wisely doesn’t devote a lot of time on a romantic subplot.
There’s mutual longing, but the story isn’t one that requires a love connection. Kendrick helps lighten the film up with the right amount of humor. The humor is well-timed and it doesn’t feel out of place with the tone of the film.
CEO Lamar Black (John Lithgow) gives Christian full access to the company opening the door to a number of potential suspects. Christian will have to hurry as a mercenary (Jon Bernthal, Daredevil) is gunning after Dana.
Initially, a subplot with Ray King (J.K. Simmons), the Treasury Department Crime Enforcement Division head seems detached. King has one of his top agents, Marybeth Medina (Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Arrow) look into Christian’s activities.
Those scenes feel like a distraction from the important story until an Usual Suspects-like twist. Some of the reveals are slightly telegraphed, but that doesn’t make them any less entertaining.
The Accountant is a wonderfully made thriller that satisfies on every level. And I’m betting it will prove even more enjoyable upon repeated viewings. I’m already looking forward to my next visit with The Accountant.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
Photo Credit: Chuck Zlotnick/Warner Bros. Entertainment