Ironically, for a film whose eponymous character’s autism equips him with an almost supernatural talent for mathematics, something about this movie just doesn’t add up!
The Accountant is centred around Ben Affleck’s character, Christian Wolff, who has autism, echoing that of Dustin Hoffman’s portrayal of Raymond Babbitt in 1988’s Rain Man. Wolff appears to be a run of the mill, small business owning, pocket protector wearing accountant. This is, of course, a front. Wolff uses his superhuman maths ability to balance the books for some of the most dangerous crime lords on the planet. As the film progresses, Wolff is forced to take a more legitimate line of work when treasury investigator, Raymond King (J.K. Simmons), starts delving into Wolff’s criminal dealings. To throw King off the scent, Wolff is put to work at a robotics company to help the founder (John Lithgow) find $60 million which has mysteriously gone missing from his firm. Wolff ends up uncovering a conspiracy that was more than he signed up for!
“The flashback scenes constantly interrupt the present action and detract from the current tensions in the movie”
What ensues is a film that feels unsure of itself and a storyline that is muddled at best. The movie relies heavily on flashbacks to a troubled childhood as an explanation for Wolff’s treatment of his autism as an adult. So much so, that the flashback scenes constantly interrupt the present action and detract from the current tensions in the movie. Moreover, a lot of the characters feel under developed and under explored. Although presented, in the trailer, as the central plot point to the film, Raymond King’s investigation of Wolff has no real relevance to the progression of the movie, to the point where the outcome of the movie would be the same if Raymond King’s scenes were to be removed.
The film also has an overly complicated plot which does not make a whole lot of sense. Character motivations are not explored and explanation scenes are long and drawn out, yet necessary, because the audience is constantly left behind and confused as to what is happening. The ending to the film felt rushed and clichéd with complicated plot points coming to a swift conclusion, paired with a typical schmaltzy Hollywood ending not in keeping with characters’ behaviour presented in earlier scenes.
The cast itself give solid yet familiar performances. Affleck successfully balances depicting the subtle characteristics of a man with autism with comedic relief in a role that could have been dull if cast incorrectly. Whilst Anna Kendrick plays … well… Anna Kendrick. Or a version of Anna Kendrick that is good at Maths. Kendrick’s character, Dana Cummings, is basically used to make sure the audience doesn’t get too lost with all the mathsy jargon in the film.
All in all, The Accountant felt as though it could not decide what kind of movie it wanted to be; an unlikely love story? A crime thriller? A revenge flick? Therefore, it decided to be all of them, consequently leaving audiences with little more than the feeling that their accountant might be living a spy-like double life.
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