What is it?
An unusual action film with an autistic protagonist.
Who’s it for?
Action-hero fans with a taste for campiness and offbeat characters.
The Accountant is a narratively complex popcorn flick about an autistic man who’s good with guns and numbers. The acting is hammy, the dialogue is cheesy and the plot is as unusual as the lead character. The choice for viewers is whether they buy into Affleck’s autistic accountant, Christian Wolff, and the meandering hyper-stylized narrative.
This is an unusual film. The plot twists and turns and often retreads the same ground in an effort to measure out exposition and characterizations. It’s wasn’t hard to comprehend, but the beats were unexpected. The inner lives of characters were more important than the action and every player was given significant screen time. The volume is not set at 10 in this action film, but when the action comes it pops.
The film plays in it’s own version of hyper-reality (think Jack Reacher or Jason Bourne). The players are well defined and their desires are clear, but that doesn’t equate to realism. This story is comic book inspired. There are small nods like copies of rare comic books and Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber. The hero’s moral code intersects with complex ideas that are rendered in arch pop-culture inspired tones. The dialogue is cheesy and tends toward exposition – think Star Wars.
The performances are mild while serving the exposition. J.K. Simmons, John Lithgow and Jeffrey Tambor all give a minor effort. Anna Kendrick is a bright spot in her scenes with Affleck. They have chemistry and it shows another side to this accountant. Jon Bernthal also puts in a fun scenery chewing performance. Affleck is Affleck. You know if you like him.
If there’s a sin here, it’s that the film never lets you forget you are watching a film. It’s too abstract for that. You have to accept its strange hero and appreciate story beats that are doled out like chunks of information. The film focuses on details the way its autistic main character does. It can be amateurish at times, but it’s certainly original. You may find it stupid or incompetent if you are unable to buy into the concept. That’s a real possibility. So make sure you’re into this idea and that this is your genre before committing your time.