The Accountant, directed by Gavin O’Connor, delivers a well-balanced and interesting set of characters that are also weaved into a story that is coherent and compelling. I went into this film not expecting much, and came out pleasantly surprised at just how well-rounded of an experience it delivered. Also, anyone who is still on the fence on whether Affleck is a good choice to be Batman, this is certainly a film that will help to bring you on-side with him and his responsibility with the iconic character. But I shouldn’t let myself get side-tracked with that topic (just yet) so let’s get to the matter at hand: my review of ‘The Accountant’.
In the film we follow, Christian Wolff – played by Ben Affleck – a man who is considered a math genius. This gift results in him helping many scrupulous organisations with the discrete moving around of their money, but with that comes many dangers. Thankfully as a child, Wolff’s father made sure to prepare his son for the harsh realities of life, by training him in various types of hand-to-hand combat and also how to handle a weapon. These skills of course come in handy when he takes on a new job for a robotics company, which results in both him and his new friend, Dana Cummings – played by Anna Kendrick – being in mortal danger from some well-trained and dangerous individuals. Christian Wolff will utilise all of his skills – of both the mental kind and the physical kind – to halt the encroaching threat.
What was really interesting to me about this film, was its protagonist. Here you have someone who lands somewhere on the Autism spectrum (in the film it is Asperger’s that Christian Wolff has) and that means that you have a main character that struggles with social interactions and other things that most people deal with easily on a day-to-day basis. So this at first made it difficult for me to connect with the character, I am not someone who properly understands the ins-and-outs of Asperger’s and how it affects people, so I wasn’t sure if it would make its main protagonist of the film someone who an audience could fully attach themselves too.
That of course ended up not being an issue, as the film really does a great job of exploring the many facets of Christian Wolff, and over the course of the film, endears you to him. Not only through the interactions that he has, but through actions in which he follows through with; he was someone who became a character I wanted more of, and was really satisfied with the arc he took in the end. One of the elements to Wolff’s story that I’m glad didn’t play out the way it seemed it was going to, was what looked to be a forced attempt at a romance between, Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) and Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick). I really thought the film was heading the way of a ham-fisted attempt to cram a love interest into the film, and so when it didn’t, and instead kept the character of Christian Wolff on the path that made most sense for him – well some relief certainly flowed through my mind.
Other than a slight scare with an unnecessary side plot, The Accountant does a really good job of setting up its main character, and then building them out over the course of the film. While it didn’t do it in a way that was deep and explorative, it did get the necessary results with either some quick little scenes’ that clearly show you the mind-set of the character or by laying things out in a very upfront and easy to follow way. I always felt I knew and understood the landscape of the characters and I never felt side-swiped by revelations or information that didn’t feel congruent with the rest of their development. That really helps with the later moments in the film; some things are revealed that if you didn’t have the necessary information or set-up, would then have absolutely killed any emotional impact they might have carried. This was very important to the whole feel of the film, and thankfully, I feel it did a good job of ingratiating me with all the necessary characters and their storylines.
Speaking of story: ‘The Accountant’ takes its well-developed group of characters, and weaves them into a cohesive and entertaining story; again, I felt I was always in the loop and understood the drive of the plot and the motivations of the characters within that plot. Now it isn’t necessarily the most layered of stories, nor is it the most compelling of stories you’ll have ever seen, but it is just the right amount of intrigue and drive that this film needed to keep me engaged and wanting of more. Perhaps my only main gripe would be one scene late on in the film (No Spoilers) where J.K. Simmons’ character (Ray King) has an expository monologue where he lays out a ridiculous amount back-story for himself and one-or-two other characters. While it did offer up some interesting revelations, it also felt a little too heavy-handed in its approach; the film kind of halts in its tracks, while this 8 minute scene (approx.) just goes on and on. It wasn’t the most subtle or clever of ways to lay out such a large and necessary portion of the films story – even if it did offer up some interesting answers – and so it left me with a bad taste in my mouth once it was over.
So one of the final points I want to touch upon, is one that I was not expecting to be as good as it was: the action sequences in the film are exhilarating and really well structured. Fight scenes in which I could tell what was going on and loved the creativity within them. Shootouts that felt dangerous and overall had a clear sense that time and effort were put into making the action in the film feel rewarding. Also seeing Ben Affleck in these scenes’ only strengthens my excitement for seeing him portray Batman in upcoming DC films. There is a presence to him within the action that feels powerful. One that jumps out immediately: sees him firing a Barret 50.cal sniper rifle at a moving truck, only to discard it and run the truck down, pull a guy through the back window and onto the bed of the truck, and finish it all by defeating him by utilising his belt as a defensive weapon. Not only does it feel like watching ‘Bruce Wayne’ deal with a thug, but it also makes for some really exhilarating moments within this film – Bravo.
But something I want to commend is that the film also succeeds at balancing its big action moments with some well-developed characters and a compelling story, but also some loftier elements e.g. mathematics, autism etc. All of these elements blend really well with one another, and it never feels like one of them is over-looked in its presentation or out-of-place in relations to the others. All work together to deliver a film that I wasn’t expecting to be as enjoyable as it was.
I am more than happy to recommend, The Accountant; a film that is successful in its offerings, and one that I’d be happy to see a sequel of.
I’d be really interested to know what you thought/think about ‘The Accountant’? Let me know in the comments down below. Feel like knowing when I post more reviews? Feel free to either follow this blog directly, or follow me over on Twitter – @GavinsTurtle. Thank you for taking the time to read my writing, it honestly does mean so much to me that you did!