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The Accountant Review: More than the Sum of its Parts.

December 3, 2016

 

Since the first trailer, The Accountant looked like something unique.  The film centers on a main character who has autism, and is taught to channel his unique perspective in ways that put him one step ahead of everyone else. His exceptional talents lead him to eventually become an accountant for some of the worlds’ most notorious criminals.  While the film isn’t quite as unique as the trailer made it out to be, it is very enjoyable.

 

The Accountant focuses on Christian Wolff, expertly portrayed by Ben Affleck, whom absolutely nails the nuances of his character.  From a young age, Christian is taught by his father to utilize and conquer his unique mind so that it can be used as a weapon rather than a disability.  The Accountant manages to handle the subject of autism and mental disability with great care. It’s never insulting and constantly reinforcing the idea that ‘normal’ is really just a term we put on people who don’t fit our narrow-minded mold. It’s a surprisingly mature take on the matter and a welcome one at that.

 

Christian isn’t like the rest of us.  What seems like a cold and calculated man is someone who just has trouble relating to others.  It isn’t until Dana (Anna Kendrick), a fellow accountant, breaks through his shell that we begin to understand the man inside.  Dana is enjoyable, relatable, and kind.  She is passionate about what she does, but still trying to find her way.

 

She is able to dig deeper into Christians’ personality because of the one major thing they have in common: they’re accountants.  From this we get to explore more about Christian as he begins to care for someone.  He goes out of his way to protect her and even becomes affectionate towards her.  The first two acts of the film are a great set up.  The characters are well-built, the story is intriguing, but the payoff doesn’t quite add up. (Pardon the puns.)

 

There is a sub-plot that involves J.K. Simmons as the Director of Financial Crimes who is in pursuit of Christian Wolff.  The problem is that the plot never serves as anything other than a way to divulge more information on Christian Wolff’s activities.  It doesn’t end up serving any sort of purpose other than exposition. 

 

The climax to the main plot, however, was well executed, but it isn’t anything revolutionary.  I’ve seen the same climax in several other films, and while it serves its’ purpose, it isn’t the most memorable. 

 

The Accountant has some strengths and weaknesses.  It fumbles its sub-plots, but its characters and central story are more than enough to keep viewers invested.  It’s a good film in a season of duds.  If you have the time, I would give this a shot.  You might just be surprised.

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