At first glance, Ben Affleck’s character Christian Wolff seems to be nothing more than a mild-mannered, stoic, socially inept, storefront accountant, right down to his spreadsheets and pocket protector. But with a long list of criminal clientele seeking to squirrel money from the I.R.S. , it’s soon clear he’s a chartered accountant with a checkered past.
Saddled with flashbacks, this Warner Bros. film follows Affleck’s character Wolff, who we initially learn is a highly gifted autistic child. His father, a military man, has shunned any form of mental help, choosing instead to arm his son with fighting skills, he feels would better equip him to deal with real life. The film fast forwards to present day and we meet a mature Wolff, who has a personal penchant for order. A meticulous, math savant with more affinity for numbers than people, he owns one set of silverware, has just a week's worth of clothing in his closet, never forgets to take his Zoloft pills, and works as a freelance accountant for some of the world’s most dangerous criminal organizations.
With the Treasury Department’s Crime Enforcement Division, run by Ray King (J.K. Simmons), on his tail, he takes on a legitimate client: a state-of-the-art robotics company where an accounting clerk (Anna Kendrick) has discovered a discrepancy involving millions of dollars. But as he “uncooks the books” and gets closer to the truth, he’s targeted by the bad guys.
Directed by Gavin O’Connor, “The Accountant” doesn’t offer enough thrills but it is entertaining enough and certainly sets up the scene for a sequel.
“The Accountant” wants to be a serious drama about autism and even provides audiences with stats, but the film’s flaw is that it tries to be too ambitious and ends up being preposterous. With more story angles that it can handle, there's the character study, the drama, the drug cartels, the arms brokers, the money launderers, the assassins and autistic children all mingled in one movie.
Our hero, Affleck, who came into the film right after portraying Batman, is certainly affable enough and aptly captures the impassive Wolff, who is nothing short of a miracle child. He’s an accounting genius, an art connoisseur, a martial arts and even an expert marksman.
Obviously, there's no suspense in this film, but the inspiring message that anyone can achieve greatness regardless of their disability is a welcomed message and the action scenes are beautifully choreographed.
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