The Intimidation Game
In the newly released The Accountant, Ben Affleck (of Good Will Hunting and other films fame), plays an autistic accountant who as a hobby solves problems to do with numbers for crime lords, it doesn’t really scream James Bond does it?
But that’s the entire point of The Accountant, what it’s done is made a Superhero film without either a hero or superpowers, but that’s what the film is, at it’s heart that’s what the movie is about. A superhero. Try to imagine a cross between Leon and The Curious Case Of The Dog In The Night-time.
Maybe that was a little bit strong, but then The Accountant is. As it never wants to shy away from the more challenging aspects of being autistic, while Christian Wolf might be our hero of the piece, he is totally stripped of all emotions, he lives within a world where his actions are clearly from a good heart but one that in no way understands people.
That could have been The Accountant’s downfall to allow Christian’s handicap to dominate the film, to continually reinstate it over and over again to us. Luckily this isn’t the situation at all. Because at all times the centre piece of The Accountant is Christian Wolf’s beautiful mind.
There are occasional missteps throughout the proceedings but nothing that ground the film enough to allow it to be anything short of gripping. Christian Wolf is a void but everyone else in the movie runs of pure emotion.
In the opening sequence we are shown a young Christian’s (whom has already been diagnosed with autism) parents being educated about the disorder, they are both reactions in a single extreme nutshell. One wanting to love him and support whatever abnormal needs he might have and the other is more into shock therapy and dosing the boy in his fears. The Latter wins.
The Accountant has a simple enough storyline, however at every turn there is another reveal that adds more weight to the ultimate outcome of the picture, then sporadically there are intense action sequences.
The action that The Accountant shows is not unlike John Wick, is it rare. But when it happens it is frantic, stunning, and violent. Christian kills with precision and zero remorse. But the action isn’t what’s really clever about The Accountant, it’s the film’s heart.
I remember when people used to think of Ben Affleck as a joke of an actor, I wonder how hard they are laughing now, because he is the most talented actor working today and in The Accountant he brings his A-game. Supporting him are a plethora of talented faces from the always delicate Anna Kendrick to the harsh morality of J.K. Simmons, each of the players in the film know how important they are. Having said that it is surreal to see Jon Bernthal in anything but The Walking Dead.
I struggle to think of another film in recent memory that has the tone, stamina or shear ferocity of The Accountant and for that it is a masterpiece.