Movie Review: The Accountant

Sorry for the absence last week on here and on the Drunken Odyssey if you follow my videogame reviews. With Hurricane Matthew I was more or less paralyzed with anxiety over my home getting destroyed and looted by my asshole neighbors. While the storm passed and nothing was broken, I am stricken once again by our current political climate. In mere weeks I will go to the polls and pick which scumbag is best for our country. Either choice I make will have the same outcome, but I cannot shake the feeling that one is decisively better for our country than the other. I will be forced to set aside by personal bias and make my choice for the sake of America and the world. The result, good or ill, will ripple across history, and I am scared to death at what that will mean.

Jesus, that was a depressing introduction. Anyway, was The Accountant good or should you see Girl on the Train instead (review incoming; I promise)?

As a vigilante accountant Christian, played by Ben Affleck, uses his high-functioning autism to un-cook the books of criminal organizations before turning them over to the authorities. When one job threatens his cover, Christian’s skills are put to the test.

To describe Accountant as “Rain Man with guns” is apt. Christian is on a spectrum of autism that allows him to understand numbers on par with the greatest mathematicians. He is so proficient at math that he is legendary, but there is an interesting twist. While growing up, his active duty father taught him to control his disorder through intense combat training. As an adult, Christian has very clear-cut morals that he applies to his work as a vigilante using his skills as an accountant. The whole of Accountant is focused on how Christian sees the world, what he is like as a person, and what he does. The actual story is just a hook to hang the character upon and show him off. It is acceptable for the most part until you consider the method in which the story is told.

For everything exceptional about it, the movie has the absolute worst pacing. There is so much information it wants to convey and makes sure it tells you everything without finesse or theatric brevity. Spread throughout is a number of flashbacks to give you information on Christian. At the same time, you follow three other subplots that are all over the place in how they play out. First you are dealing with Christian’s latest endeavor, then his past, followed by an investigation by the FBI, and then a visit by Jon Bernthal as a hitman. There are so many moving parts that it becomes difficult to follow.

However, the story is only half the film with all of the attention is focused on Christian. If the character is not great, then there is nothing left to keep you invested. Thanks to Affleck’s performance, that half of Accountant is the reason to buy a ticket. He was totally convincing as this socially awkward savant that happens to be an expert marksman. His ticks, mannerisms, and speech exude the qualities of a man driven by obsessive precision that is his being. His interactions with Anna Kendrick’s Dana further define him as he struggles to open up and escape the confines of his own psyche. It also helps that they have the best on screen chemistry I have seen in a long time.

As a lite action movie it is passable. The very few set pieces were decent except for the very annoying shaky cam that I wish would stay out of my action films. At least it did not give me a headache like the dread-fest Jason Bourne. The pistol battles were not as awesome as John Wick and the grappling melee fights that everyone stole from Iron Man 2 were not impressive.

That being said, The Accountant is more about Christian being a high functioning autistic vigilante accountant. The action and story are just theatric devices to show you who he is. On that merit it works and Affleck absolutely sells it. If that piques your interest, buy a ticket. If the issues are a deal breaker, I highly recommend Girl on the Train as a substitute.

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