By CYNTHIA BIDDLECOMB
“The Accountant” stars Ben Affleck as Christian Wolff, an autistic guy who happens to be a math savant. He works as a very private accountant for some of the world’s most notorious characters, un-cooking their books.
Now he’s laying low, has his own CPA firm and is helping people, like one farm couple trying to figure out their tax liability. And, oh, by the way, he is a sharpshooter and can whip any bad dude in seconds with his bare hands.
Christian takes on a supersize accounting mess with a corporation run by a brother and sister team (John Lithgow and Jean Smart). He meets Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick) a gal from the finance department of the firm who first discovered an anomaly. Meanwhile in Washington D.C., Christian Wolff has caught the attention of Ray King and Marybeth Medina (J.K. Simmons and Cynthia Addai-Robinson), investigators for the U.S. Treasury Department.
Flashback to Christian’s childhood… Mom and Dad and little brother take him to a neuroscience institute specializing in what we now call Autism. Although Dad refuses to let Christian spend the summer at the institute, it seems the kid somehow does benefit from the skills they teach. Dad’s refusal of help leads to Mom’s moving out. Dad raises the boys in his own way, making sure they learn to compensate for their individual shortcomings by being able to defend themselves, big time.
This is a superbly crafted movie. It is well edited with flashbacks, interesting character development, a bit of humor, and lots of suspense and action. The jobs the accountant has done in the past have allowed him some exquisite toys. We are impressed. He shows little reaction to many comments thrown at him. We are made to wonder what is going on in his head. After a while we notice the guys he is offing are really, really bad guys. We are won over and we cheer him on.
So how many movies have I left saying, “We need some sequels to this film”? Not many, I assure you. The story allows for such a future, but we can only hope. All the main protagonists are still with us at the end. A lot of bad guys are not, but we know there are many more who deserve this treatment or worse.
Ben Affleck must have studied hard to capture the look and feel of adult autism in his demeanor and affect. J. K. Simmons is great as an underachieving G-man. Anna Kendrick is convincing as another math geek. Seemingly disconnected scenes eventually are woven into the fabric of the story as truths are revealed.
The Accountant is “Rated R for strong violence and language throughout.” It is a violent film, but intriguing all the same. Few such high quality films have come our way in the past few months, so I do recommend this one for those who can handle the gun violence and bloodshed. It is a triumph!