Ben Affleck plays a badass autistic accountant in a very unbelievable situation
In a time where every movie seems to be a remake or a sequel, it’s a breath of fresh air to see an original film. This is where The Accountant comes to play. It has no tie to a previous franchise, unlike most of the movies that came out this year. While this is a victory in itself, the movie doesn’t always achieve what it strives for.
We’re treated to many clues throughout the movie. Going for a more unconventional plot, Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) is an autistic accountant by day and a secret assassin by night. Affleck does an excellent job conveying someone who is struggling with autism while still being fully functional. His relationship with his brother and his father, who is shown during flashback sequences, are both complicated and far-fetched at the same time. However, it does make Affleck’s character evolve to what he is in the present day and gives the audience a better characterization of Wolff.
On the other hand, the backstory, like the rest of the movie, suffers from a sense of unbelievableness. The farfetched elements eliminate every opportunity this film has as being genuine and real. They try to make real relationships, one of them is between Affleck and Kendrick’s characters. This is an excellent effort that attempts to ground the movie. Notwithstanding, they quickly go back to killing lots of people without any real consequences. John Wick, a similar film, never crosses the line of believable and therefore can be taken as a much more serious film. Sadly, The Accountant consistently continues to cross that line.
The story is far from a linear plot. It makes the audience think as well as always keep its viewers guessing. While this doesn’t always work, the movie tries hard to challenge its audience. However, close to the end, J.K Simmons’ character feels the need to tell his past by explaining to us everything we need to know. This is what I call the “secret box syndrome.” It is when a movie doesn’t do a good job enough to tell the story, so the filmmakers need a character to explain to us what is going on.
The third act is by far the best thing The Accountant has to offer. It finds the right way of letting his audience piece the puzzle. Only subtle hints are thrown here and there, and that leaves a sense of satisfaction. Nonetheless, the ending falls back into the unbelievable nature the film has been struggling with.
While an admiration for The Accountants’ effort is needed, unfortunately, it doesn’t pay off in the long run, leaving the story unbelievable and muddled. Affleck’s performance just doesn’t save the movie from falling in boredom. The final confrontation between Affleck and Jon Bernthal is powerful and effective, but the underlying unbelievable nature – again – drowns this clash. I guess the idea of an accountant being an assassin may be just too exciting and crazy even for the big screen.