I haven’t been to the movies in a while now. There hasn’t been a movie that I really felt the need to go right away and see in theaters. That is until I started compiling my list of movies that I am looking forward to a couple weeks ago (check that out here), and I came across Ben Affleck’s new movie ‘The Accountant’. This seemed like a refreshing and smart action movie (lately you can’t go wrong with an Affleck flick either). I was not disappointed.
When I wrote about looking forward to this movie I joked about it being similar to ‘Good Will Hunting’, and I wasn’t far off. It’s as if you took that movie and mixed it with Jason Borne. Which unsurprisingly makes for a great movie. The story follows Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) a math genius with a form of high functioning autism. He assists some of the most dangerous people in the world with uncooking their books. This brings him under the attention of the Treasury Agency. Worried about the heat he is under, Wolff takes a “legitimate” job helping a tech company find missing money from their very complicated books, and of course people start trying to kill him and Anna Kendrick (her character initially figures out money may be missing) after he discovers millions of dollars missing. That’s all fine and good, that alone would make for a compelling action movie. This movie does something a little more though, it really takes its time giving you background on each of the characters, so you really understand their motivation and where they came from. This movie is directed by Gavin O’Connor and if you have seen another of his movies Warrior (one of my favourites) you know that he likes to mix in a lot of character development along with his action.
Christian’s autism while making him super intelligent: amazing at puzzles and math, also makes him super sensitive to light, touch, and noise. He is such a handful as a child that his mother ends up leaving him to be raised by his military intelligence father. Raise him he does. His approach to helping his son with his issues is to force extreme sensory overload on him so that he will get used to it. He trains his two sons in hand to hand combat, weapons, and military strategies to help Christian be able to function in the real world. This leads to him becoming the bad-ass accountant he is in the movie. This attention to his past through flash backs makes the character believable and more relate-able. You really start to care about him as a viewer.
The other thing this movie does really well is not hold your hand. It forces you to really pay attention and try and figure things out on your own, which I really appreciated. Far too many movies these days treat the viewer like they are dumb and explain everything to you, usually in expository dialog. It has a great way of showing you everything you need to know in the beginning and then looping back to it in the 3rd act to make you go “oh, that’s what that was!”.
All the actors in this movie were great, but Affleck especially. A lot of times when an actor plays someone with a mental issue they go way over the top, but he plays it perfectly. I think this is one of his best performances.
Some of the issues I have heard people from around the internet have with this movie is that it is slow in parts, and that there are too may subplots. I don’t agree with either. Along with having action this movie almost functions more as a character piece. You really want to see how Christian will handle situations and how he will use his autism to his advantage, which makes the scenes without action just as interesting. I would describe this movie as more of a drama with action as opposed to just an action movie as it will probably be sold, but that is definitely one of its strengths. I also didn’t find there to be too many sub plots. What that did is make you pay very close attention and have to think, and there is a really good pay out for the viewer in the end when all the sub plots come together.
All in all, I thought this was a great movie! Probably my favourite so far this year. Definitely one to check out. Let me know what yours thoughts are. (Who didn’t love seeing The Punisher fight Batman!)