The film stars Ben Affleck as an autistic maths genius with a criminal and undeclared side gig
Even if The Accountant wasn’t already a terrible movie about people with autism, relying instead on its action-filled plot to cobble together a half-decent thriller, the film would be in trouble. Instead, it doubles down on the mathematical genius aspect of Hollywood autism and tosses in four other utterly silly subplots, one of which involves a twist so basic and obvious that even some neurotypical with only the most rudimentary of arithmetic ability will have balanced the books about a half hour before the big reveal.
Ben Affleck plays Christian Wolff, a small-town bean counter with poor social skills but plenty of goodwill for the customers he deals with in his small accountancy firm. But between tax returns and target practice on a local farm, Wolff is packing a secret: he is also an accountant for some of the worst criminals on the planet, captured always with his face just out of view in surveillance footage of mafia gangs, terrorists, and corporate dodgy dealing. On top of the criminal underbelly, for reasons so haphazardly explained, his mercilessly military type father forced Christian and his brother to learn combat skills from an early age, meaning that this accountant knows his way around Krav Maga and marginal costing.
Enter JK Simmons, as a hard-edged but brilliant Federal Reserve investigator, albeit with a secret, who coerces an equally enigmatically brilliant colleague into finding Wolff before Simmons retires. At the same time, Anna Kendrick’s unassuming Dana from accounts spots a discrepancy when totting up the books at a top tech company. So Wolff arrives for what should be an easy job of epic dry-erase mathematics that compounds both his Asperger’s driven need to complete every task he starts and some casual and deliberately awkward flirting over calculations and canvasses.
Things turn sour for the pair when the company terminates Wolff’s employment, sending contract killers led by Jon Bernthal to finish them off. The action scenes, at least to begin with, are frenetic and fun, enlivened by Wolff’s ability to coolly react to any difficulty and get the job done, but which lose their invention and become increasingly run of the mill as the film builds to its inevitable final battle.
Will Bernthal also have a secret? It’s accrual world in The Accountant, so you better believe it.
Verdict: ★★☆☆☆ While much of the action adds up to something thrilling, by the end of the film The Accountant has gone through twists more convoluted than the last that the lasting impression is something silly
The Accountant (15A/128 mins) is released nationwide on November 4th