The Accountant – before the Dark Knight

Ben Affleck’s Christian Wolff is an accountant whose brilliance and discretion bring him to the attention of many high profile criminal types, who use his expertise to look after their finances. He is also noticed by J. K. Simmons’ nearing retirement, chief treasury officer, Ray King,  who uses unorthodox methods to enlist the help of the keen-minded Cynthia Addai-Robinson’s treasury officer Maybeth Medina to find out who the gentleman in every photo with the very bad people is.

Wolff, as shown by flashbacks to his youth, is a man in the autism spectrum. He does not like incomplete task and acts out when unable to complete a task. As a person of low normal emotional communication, his mother, Justine (Alison Wright,  finds it difficult to deal with his autism and leaves him and his brother, Brax, (always good value Jon Bernthal) to be brought up by their father, Ed (Andy Umberger), a military man.

Ed refuses to allow Christian’s autism to be a hindrance, forcing both his sons to be strong and decisive, both mentally and physically. Christian follows his father into the military. During an altercation at his mother’s funeral, his father is shot dead. Christian ends up in jail and is befriended by an older prisoner, Francis plays by Jeffery Tambor, who was an accountant for various mob types. He helps Wolff, showing him how to move money for the type of people he introduces him to.

Wolff, as well as doing accountancy for nefarious types, does accountants for everybody else who requires his services. he is employed by Lamar Black (John Lithgow) a billionaire businessman, to track down the source of missing funds. He is given the assistance of Anna Kendrick’s Dana Cummings. He refuses her assistance, as he works better alone. Being of brilliant and singular purpose, he quickly finds the issue. His plan to get to the root of the problem is cut short when Black thanks him for his trouble and lets him go. Wolff does not take the news well. As he looks into the business more, people start to die.

Gavin O’Connor directs a slightly out of the ordinary story in from Bill Dubuque’s screenplay. At just over two hours, the film whips along at a nice pace, with Affleck’s Wolff at the centre. As seemingly, at various times, the most hated actor in social media history, particular for the comic roles he has chosen – Daredevil and Batman –  Affleck is unfairly vilified for just about any performance he puts in. Some of this is jealousy, some just meanness. As the autistic Wolff, Affleck is completely believable, never over-emoting or doing anything that pulls you out of the film. He is of such a physical size that you believe he would be able to handle himself and the fight scenes in the film are reminiscent of the brilliant fight choreography on the Keanu Reeves starrer, John Wick.

Jon Bernthal, for the little screen time he has, is a joy to watch. Anna Kendrick is underused. It would be difficult to say how she could have been utilised differently in the context of the film and its characters, considering any other direction would have resulted in a cliched story arc.

As necessary as the Treasury angle was for the story, these were the dullest parts of the film. Watching treasury officer Medina scroll through figures, as attractive as she is, is boring.

This is a Ben Affleck film and really kicks into high gear whenever he is on the screen. Because of his character in the film, you never know how he is going to react to something or deal with a situation. The Accountant is a good way to waste a couple of eyeball hours.

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