The Accountant (2016) stars Ben Affleck as Christian Woolf, a high-functioning autistic accountant who fixes books for bad people around the globe and protects himself with a range of skills honed thanks to a near-abusive military father and a childhood of globe-trotting and training.
This felt like two films to me. On the one hand, The Accountant is a story of a high-functioning autistic man who has managed to function in society but desires companionship despite his difficulty with social situations and connecting with other people. When he meets Dana, played by Anna Kendrick, he finds a chance to make a genuine connection with another person.
On the other hand, it is also a film about an accountant with elite military skills, who fixes books for some of the most dangerous people on the planet and protects himself by moving from place to place, along with a plentiful arsenal of weapons at his disposal.
These should not be two things that work, but they do. Not always, but there are plenty of moments in The Accountant where the two halves of this film meet beautifully. There are also great moments for each. Accountancy scenes and interactions between the two main characters feel genuine throughout, despite the obvious difficulties inherent in properly representing someone with Autism.
Likewise, the action scenes are fantastic. Affleck’s character allows for precise, brutal action sequences appropriate for a man whose life is based around total order as a necessity. There’s also some good comedy at times, and this is a film that knows how to be lighthearted without disrespecting the very sensitive issues at its core.
Unfortunately, The Accountant does have several issues that keep it from being enjoyable at times. J.K Simmons is good, but unnecessary, appearing several times throughout the film to monologue exposition and then immediately move on. This is easily the most disappointing part of this film, and really takes you out just as character interactions and action sequences pull you in.
What could have been a subtle and meaningful merging of two very different ideas is shoved down the audience’s throat enough times to be annoying. I enjoyed The Accountant for its unique ideas, Ben Affleck’s fantastic, and accurate performance of a high-functioning autistic man, as well as a foreseeable but nonetheless satisfying twist. However, glaring flaws kept me from getting into it entirely and I walked away a bit irritated.