Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) has struggled all of his life to fit into society. Due to the awkward nature of high-functioning autism and his father’s military lifestyle, Chris had to learn to adapt to the world around him. With the training from his father’s unique teaching in self-defence and his acute abilities in mathematics, he manages to become one of the most sought after forensic accountants who assists some of the world’s most influential criminal organisations. Using his rare gifts in finding hidden discrepancies in the books of these groups, he unmasks the internal problems and many times remedies justice in his own way through more physical means. In the process of administering this vigilante-style of balancing the books, he crosses paths with Treasury agent Ray King (J.K. Simmons) who seeks to find him out. Their paths look to cross again when Chris is hired by a cutting edge robotics company who are trying to find the answer to a multi-million dollar discrepancy in their books. As he digs deeper into their files, his discoveries bring him closer to his own past, to being exposed and putting innocent lives in jeopardy.
The premise of The Accountant has the potential to confuse and overwhelm movie fans, much less those who know little about accountancy. Thankfully Gavin O’Connor (Warrior) has managed to direct this potential mess into an entertaining thinking-man’s film. Providing enough background about Christian Wolff to understand his disposition and decision-making skills so that his cold demeanour becomes winsome and even humorous at times. O’Connor manages to delve far enough into the world of autism and the world of military children to provide the background that lays the foundation for the situational ethics confronted by Wolff.
Coming off his performance as Batman, Affleck takes on the role of the distant and focussed accountant with convincing intensity. This role is ideally suited for his persona and the slow boil scripting is managed superbly by the accomplished actor. The surrounding cast adds to the quality of this action mystery. J.K Simmons continues to provide the right amount of magnetism and measured control as the veteran treasury agent to add the earnestness to lift the tension of the storyline. Partnered with the relative newcomer, Cynthia Addai-Robinson (Arrow) as the junior investigator, they make a formidable rival to the bookkeeping protagonist. Anna Kendrick puts forward her best role in ages, but the inclusion of Jon Bernthal (Fury) as a competing assassin was a work of genius casting. O’Conner manages to weave together this exceptional cast with convincing direction that delivers a cinematic capital gain.
When it comes to a balanced consideration for this film, audiences must consider that this is a violent affair. Christian Wolff’s self-administered justice and the parental style of his father may cause some to give this a miss. On the other side of the balance sheet is a fascinating study of being ‘fearfully and wonderfully made.’ The manner that the production team handles the ‘abilities’ as opposed to the disabilities of many of the lead characters is worth engaging. The Accountant may run up against some individuals sensibilities, but is a film worth considering. It will deliver on the entertainment front and will lead to a multitude of conversation points after the screening.
Reel Dialogue: What are the bigger questions to consider from this film?
Psalm 139: 14: I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
What do The Accountant and Finding Dory have in common? They are divergent storylines and they are intended for completely different audiences, but both consider that we all have different abilities and skills. The gifts we have may seem odd to the outside world, dare it be said even, ‘Weird?’ Yet, in looking at the Bible’s account of each person on this earth, they were all made by and loved by God. These films and the Bible provide a different way to look at those with different ‘abilities.’
- What should we know about disabilities? (Psalm 139: 13-14, Romans 5:3-5)
- What does the Bible say about family? (John 15:12-17)