Director Gavin O’Connor (Warrior) and Ben Affleck team up for The Accountant, an action thriller that’s more action than it is a thriller.
Affleck stars as Christian Wolff, a mathematic genius who moonlights as a small town accountant. His real stream of income is doing forensic accounting for some of the world’s most dangerous criminals. When Christian was a child, he tested somewhere on the Asperger’s scale. Fearing he’d get picked on for being “different”, his military father trained to fight him using his own team of “specialist”.
Yes, he turned an innocent child into a trained killer.
Meanwhile, Treasury Agent Ray King (J.K Simmons) is trying to find out who is the man known as “The Accountant” who un-cooks all the bad guy’s books. Ray brings in a new recruit, Medina (Cynthia Addai-Robinson), to help him track down the mysterious money man.
After Dana (Anna Kendrick), a young accountant at a robotics company, discovers a discrepancy during an audit, the company brings in Wolff to figure out if there is money missing. As Wolff starts to untangle the company’s financial history, his discovery puts his life is in danger as well as Dana’s.
Wolff uses his special set of skills to hunt down the threat before him and Dana are killed.
The film is ridiculous in the same way most genre movies are. Wolff writing on windows is a sign he’s really smart (check). Having large sums of money, passports, and credit cards (check). Risking your life for an absolute stranger (check). Numerous shootouts in public without the police showing up (check). The line, “The police can’t protect you” (check).
This type of ridiculousness is necessary for all the killing that takes place in two hours. A lot of people die, a lot. So many people get shot at close range with semi-automatic weapons; it’s like watching a teenager play Call of Duty on Twitch. Wolff goes out of his way to make sure his targets are dead – a double tap would be too gentle for him. The action is packed with enough carnage and “gun-fu” to satisfy any action junkie.
Affleck is great at doing exactly what he’s asked to do, be socially awkward, shoot people, and show little to no emotion. When he’s paired with Kendrick, the two have good chemistry and some fun comedic moments. Their awkward interactions are some of the film’s funnier moments. It would be nice to see those two as an onscreen duo again.
John Bernthal makes an appearance and continues to crush his supporting roles (Sicario, The Wolf of Wall Street, Me Earl and The Dying Girl). It’s easy to want him to be The Punisher in everything, but it’s good to see him playing a variety of murderous characters.
The Treasury agents hunting The Accountant isn’t much of a cat-and-mouse game. Those scenes are information dumps and scenes that buffer all the shootouts. Where the film lacks in mystery, it makes up for in comedy. There are a few genuine laugh-out-loud moments – some intentional, others not. The comedy adds some levity to a film with a high body count.
The Accountant isn’t a deep thriller filled with mystery. It’s not an action movie that plays out our international politics onscreen. It’s a fun, shoot ’em up, action movie. It’s more John Wick than Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. It’s an action film that’s heavy on the action and high on the body count, just like the 80’s movies that reshaped the genre. For a film that’s full of mindless action, it ends with a nice monologue about how we teach and learn from our young people with Autism. It was good to see a film that highlights our brothers and sisters who live with autism and how they can do whatever they put their minds to.