“If we let the world set expectations, they’ll stay where they are.” A kind sentiment about not holding people on the autistic spectrum to different standards or keeping them back because they learn differently. But that’s a bit undermined when Christian Wolff’s (Ben Affleck) Dad turns him into a highly trained killing machine instead of putting him into specialized schooling. Not enough beatings by Asian karate masters, I guess.
The Accountant is about three movies in one. An exploration of life as a high functioning autistic a la The Big Short. A semi decent action movie. A film about brotherly love. It never lives up to any of them.
Christian Wolff seems like an every day accountant. Besides his almost super human abilities to recognize patterns and focus on a task until it is completed. It’s because he is a highly functioning autistic individual, but I would argue his level of skill is indicative of savantness and nothing else. The movie will argue it was his father’s insistence on pushing him out of his comfort zone. And Christian has a secret, his part time job is balancing the books for cartels, terrorist groups, and other assorted bad guys. He’s called in by a local company that’s heard of his skills to find some possibly missing money. But someone didn’t want that money to be found.
I think the beginning of the film really outshines the rest. There’s a buildup that adds to the tension. We learn that Christian is a really good shot. There’s the introduction of a hitman (Jon Bernthal at his best). But the promised action ending is a wash. If you were hoping for another John Wick I’m sorry to disappoint. There’s hints of greatness. Anna Kendrick’s natural comedy. Ben Affleck’s very good portrayal as emotionless when shooting people in the head (he does not hold back when he is let loose). But the action ends as fast as it starts.
As long as you don’t expect an action film. You might find things to like, despite the odd side plot of the U.S treasury hunting down Christian that leads nowhere. And the weird phone lady who guides them and helps Christian pack up his life at the first sign of trouble. There are some good parts, but ultimately feels like they are setting up a sequel we won’t get. But if you wanted your first autistic hitman, you hit the jackpot.
2 out of 4 stars.
Update: I now know who the phone lady is. It’s a weird reveal and makes me think there’s some sort of autism spectrum super criminal conspiracy thing going on.