Movie Review: “The Accountant”

Director Gavin O’Connor and star Ben Affleck embrace unconventionality

David Rosario, Staff Writer

There’s nothing about a title like “The Accountant” that suggests nonstop thrills and blood pumping action, but just as the main character is more than what he initially seems, the exact same can be said of the film itself. From director Gavin O’Connor, best known for his sports films “Miracle” and “Warrior, and a star-studded cast that includes Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons and Jon Bernthal, “The Accountant” tells the story of Christian Wolff, played by Affleck, a highly sought after intellectual who works as a certified public accountant by day but secretly makes his money using his skillset to work for criminal clientele. 

Part of what makes this film so great is how it successfully encompasses so many different genres without ever feeling tonally dissonant. At its core, the film is a drama about the extremely complicated life of this individual. Early flashbacks reveal that Affleck’s character was diagnosed with a form of high-functioning autism at a young age, and the movie doesn’t shy away from exploring the pathos that comes with this condition.  His family doesn’t quite understand how to cope and even in his adulthood he’s just trying to find his own form of normalcy in a world constantly telling him that he doesn’t fit in. 

Aside from the drama, there is also a surprising amount of hard-hitting action that often feels reminiscent of sequences from the “Jason Bourne” franchise, but don’t feel out of place in the context of this narrative. Ben Affleck has proved in past films that he’s capable of pulling off impressive stunts, but never more so than in this film. When the action kicks in, it’s relentless. Gavin O’Connor did a great job of filming the fights where the frenetic camerawork adds to the overall intensity of the film but you can still tell exactly what’s happening on-screen and who’s fighting who. 

All around, the performances in “The Accountant” are solid, but Ben Affleck especially stands out and has no problem carrying this move on his shoulders. He excelled at portraying the two dueling sides of this character, the calm, cool and collected public accountant as well as the hardened persona that comes out when he’s dealing with the criminal world. Anna Kendrick provides timely comic relief as Affleck’s love interest, while J.K. Simmons and Jon Bernthal are equally great as men on opposite sides of the law who have their own valid reasons to want to track down the elusive “accountant.” 

“The Accountant” takes its time setting up the larger story but by the end, it pays off in a big way. The story is structured nonlinearly, forcing you as an audience member to really pay attention to the smaller details and try to piece everything together when it’s all over. Big reveals that come in the third act feel earned because the movie up until that point does its job of introducing these layered characters and the immersive world in which they live. You won’t need to see this movie twice in order for it to make sense, but you’ll want to see it again because it’s just that good.