This one took its sweet time to make it out to home release, and I still remember “The Accountant” being rumoured to be an early Oscar hit before entering the cinemas. Time to finally see how that shapes up
Ben Affleck plays what appears to be a normal everyday Accountant, but secretly works with major cartels and organisations to square their dirty books. Being someone diagnosed with high-functioning Autism, he holds a brilliant mind with numbers and figures, and keeps to very particular ways in order to achieve his goals. But when he is taken in by a Robotics firm to find the source of the holes within their cash flows, he inadvertently gets dragged into a much larger problem placing him squarely at risk. But nothing that he is not prepared for.
So on the face of it, it holds the interesting premise within the first act of seeing a brilliant mind work with his symptoms, but also someone who is clearly not a good person entirely. His past and present doings are a bit dark, and the motivations which drive him to take on the dangerous job which he does had been set long ago by his father. For me this was where the film was at its most intriguing, it is designed like a drama where the mysteries are what hold your attention.
What in particular makes this intriguing is Ben Affleck’s performance, he is excellent and the shining aspect of the whole production. He has the personality and motivations of his character nailed down, where all the little details of the Autism feel believable, and not over-done in a way like someone thinking what Autism looks like. You could call it a very visual means of illustrating a character’s weaknesses, but certainly not in here where the Accountant is a bit of a bad ass when it comes to numbers, and keeping his identity hidden.
The supplementary performances provided by the likes of Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons, and John Bernthal, are okay, but not setting the screen alight to be honest. They keep everything moving along, but it eels like Affleck was designed to outshine the rest. As to whether this was the smart move or not, depends on how you react to the film. I didn’t think of it all too much during the viewing, but after the fact, it has come to my attention.
I can however give praise to the backflashes which give extra detail on the Accountant’ past and how he came to be where he is now. It is provided at a nice rate that doesn’t feel sluggish or rushed, and there’s more than a handful of movies out there that get this aspect messed up to the damage of the story.
But the film takes a shift after a critical event, and takes on some of action which you will have heard of or seen. The best way to describe it would be a “Jason Bourne” style where it isn’t particularly about revenge, but more about being hunted by an as of yet unknown enemy. There are two problems with this change in direction I need to bring up. First, some of the plot twists are telegraphed damm early on, I won’t delve into what those specifically are to avoid spoilers being dropped, but you might find that some of your early guesses will e bang on the mark by the film’s end. It spoils some of the mystery that the script relies on very heavily to keep you invested. Secondly, most of the action isn’t particularly… spectacular. There are some good moments fitted in including a fall which must have injured the stuntman, but the majority came across as a little uninspired by today’s standards. I know others will debate this and again, it will depend on how you respond to the film when this change in pace begins. But sadly for me, there weren’t many times where I was thrilled by the on-screen battles.
That isn’t to say that “The Accountant” is a bad film, Ben’s performance really bumps it up in terms of quality and the early storyline is pretty compelling. Certainly for that I will vouch and give it the thumb’s up. But by the end I had been left deflated by how things had been resolved and where they stood, the direction it had been taken to didn’t have the weight to back it up entirely. And although overall it was all done to a good standard, it missed on being the awards contender that it may have been.
Still, it is good enough for a watch since there are positive points to be found within, but those seeking an action hero, or espionage expert for their film may not be satisfied by the combination that is given in here.
Thanks for reading!