I walked out of ‘The Accountant’ conflicted. I liked it - I genuinely did - but I couldn’t figure out why. It was fun to watch, dark, at times funny, interesting, I enjoyed the cast. All good things... wrapped in an inconspicuously stupid concept. It seems that ‘The Accountant’ has been gifted with incredible, visionary filmmakers, namely director Gavin O’Connor (‘Warrior’). Upon this revelation I couldn’t help but let my mind wonder into a bizarro world where Martin Scorsese directed ‘Ace Ventura: Pet Detective’, Oliver Stone put his stamp on ‘American Pie’ or Tarantino got his hands on ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas.’ These are all extreme examples of the wrong movie partnered with the wrong director, but what if ‘The Accountant’ is the wrong movie that got the right director? Mind. Blown. Allow me to elaborate.
Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) is a mathematics savant with a form of high-functioning autism. Nothing major, he just can’t quite socialise the way he’d like and once he starts a task he can’t not finish it. But what makes Christian really unique is that Christian is not his real name. He can change his identity with the swipe of a keyboard and a mysteriously absent assistant. He’s wealthy beyond your imagination yet he lives a transient life, blending in wherever he lands yet all his most valuable possessions reside in a trailer he can move at a moment’s notice and disappear. You see, Christian is an accountant. By day he helps the little people struggling with their finances from his shop front. On the side he forensically investigates corporate finances and at night he launders money and “cooks the books” for potential terrorists. He’s also a sharp shooter and can kill you in about 10 different ways without batting an eyelid – and will, if you cross him.
Screenwriter Bill Dubuque (‘The Judge’) has imbued Christian with a strong moral compass when it comes to injustices, and yet he works for terrorists. He earns millions and yet doesn’t spend a dime except to fund his fly-by-the-night existence. Chicken? Egg? Chicken? Egg? And this is just the tippy-top of the inconsistent, Swiss cheese iceberg. And of course Christian’s story is all flushed out with a head-shaking B-plot involving the Treasury Department and blackmail.
Its accomplishment as a palatable and entertaining film is all the more impressive due to its positively mind-boggling stupidity as a concept.
Affleck and O’Connor’s whacky film is supported by a mesmerising cast including J.K. Simmons (‘Whiplash’), Anna Kendrick (‘Pitch Perfect’ films) and Jon Bernthal (‘The Wolf of Wall Street’) among others who are all equally great in the mish-mash of ideas. ‘The Accountant’ never lacks pace, constantly shifting between the A and B plot as well as flashbacks. It's intriguing as hell, features twists and turns and is action-packed, all portrayed engagingly by its charismatic cast.
Is ‘The Accountant’ a great movie? No. Good movie? Most definitely. Its accomplishment as a palatable and entertaining film is all the more impressive due to its positively mind-boggling stupidity as a concept accompanied by a stylish execution and great performances. You could definitely do worse.