Genre: Action, Crime, Drama
Directed by: Gavin O’Connor
Starring: Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons, Jon Bernthal
Working as an unassuming accountant in a small office in a strip mall just outside of Chicago, Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) appears as ordinary as you can get. Wolff is on the autism spectrum, highly gifted with numbers and puzzles. But behind the impassive, brutally honest exterior hides someone who can kick ass with his martial arts skills and if that doesn’t work, he’s also a trained sharpshooter. Now why would a nondescript accountant need such skills? Because Wolff moonlights as a freelance accountant to some of the world’s most dangerous criminal organisations. He is the man behind photographs of transactions, a side-profile between deals, an obscured silhouette next to some of the world’s most notorious criminals.
With this vague lead, Wolff, nicknamed “The Accountant” due to his anonymity and many, many aliases, has the Treasury Department’s Crime Enforcement Division (J. K. Simmons and Cynthia Addai-Robinson) hot on his trail. Following the advice of the disembodied “Voice” from his phone, Wolff takes on a legitimate client to remain off-radar; a robotics company where an accounting assistant (Anna Kendrick) has discovered an inconsistency in the company’s books. But as Wolff gets closer to the truth, the subplots rise and so does the body count. As the story unravels we are introduced to a ruthless hitman (Jon Bernthal) and his crew, whose intentions remain dubious – he just seemed psychopathic at the beginning – until the film’s climactic shootout with a side of a reunion.Jumping between past and present, we see flashbacks of Wolff’s childhood – the brutal upbringing of young Christian and his brother by their US Army father in order to defend themselves from bullying and future abuse because ‘sooner or later, different scares people.’ Amidst the bloody and violent scenes of headshots, Bill Dubuque’s (The Judge) script produces instances of sudden wit and dead-pan humour, usually as a result of Wolff’s cool demeanour and pokerfaced delivery. The pacing may appear strange at the beginning, choppy even, yet at the same time this isolates some of the scenes, especially surrounding Wolff’s character, as if the audience themselves are living in this world with him.
Despite the exceptional, aesthetic visuals and a witty script, The Accountant’s downfall may come from the slightly convoluted plotlines. The jumps between past and present are relatively quick, leaving the backstories underdeveloped and with it Kendrick and Bernthal’s characters.
With a quick-paced action sequence and clever lines, The Accountant is an action thriller that may leave you with more questions than actual answers. But maybe it’s as Wolff himself said, “I like incongruity” and perhaps, this is where the film’s beauty lies.