When you see go see a thriller, you expect a great twist, lots of action and a hero everyone can root for. “The Accountant” delivers on all three – with the addition of pleasantly surprising humor.
Christian Wolff is an autistic accountant who is brilliant both with numbers and with dangerous clientele. One would not immediately think of Ben Affleck as the ideal casting choice for this role, but his performance as Christian is thorough and engaging. Bill Dubuque, the writer, gives his main character depth and a chance for the audience to humanize the otherwise cold, intelligent, killer accountant as we follow Christian’s backstory and learn not just about him as a character, but a bit about the stigma concerning autism itself and how a family can be affected by it.
Director Gavin O’Connor seems to have strived to make “The Accountant” more than just a film about a smart, autistic man who shoots a lot of people. He certainly succeeds. Managing three strong plots throughout the entire film, O’Connor has assembled a strong ensemble to drive the mystery behind the connection of the different story lines. While each character gets time in the spotlight (with occasionally confusing results; “who’s the lead, anyway?” is an understandable question) their intertwining paths don’t come across as forced but as true coincidences, making the film more enjoyable.
Academy Award nominee Anna Kendrick, rising in popularity in both Hollywood and among the tweeting masses, plays a smaller role than one might expect after watching the trailers. Nevertheless, she brings charm, innocence and humor into the otherwise grim and serious world of Christian Wolff in her portrayal of a bright young accountant. Additionally, the romance involving her character helps to lighten the mood. She, a woman intrigued with the sudden appearance of the mysterious Christian, is the softer foil to the character of Ray King, played by Academy Award Winner J.K Simmons, who is consumed with knowing who Christian is before his career ends.
Though it has great potential, Simmons’ plot is left wanting. The Treasury Department’s Crime Enforcement Division head is desperate to understand a violent case he came upon years ago. His character as a whole is promising, but remains shadowed under the larger plots running throughout the film.
Instead, violence prevails as a character itself, one which has defined Christian as a person and as titular accountant. The shooting scenes are well-choreographed, which helps make up for the lack of a better villain, but satisfies the craving for the gun action promised in the trailers.
Reaching across wide audiences with an engaging storyline, clever writing, decently handled plot threads, guns, romance and humor, The Accountant is a film that all can enjoy and should enjoy while it’s still in theaters.