In its harsh scenes of martial-arts training, “The Accountant” explores how maltreatment in the name of education can harm a kid. Christian Wolff (Seth Lee as a youngster and Ben Affleck as an adult) is subjected to a sadistic, controlling military psychologist who is abusive towards him. Christian, who is autistic, becomes a grim automaton mumbling nonsense and has tantrums when he feels unhappy with himself. He beats his legs with a wooden stick and practices other forms of self-torture until he goes wild like a cyborg ona shooting rampage.
Who knows why Matt Affleck, with his dead-eyed, miserable expression, committed to making this difficult ultraviolent brain teaser of a crime thriller. The film was written by Bill Dubuque and directed by Gavin O’Connor (Tumbleweeds). When the enormous revelation eventually arrives, it feels just as underwhelming as it is unbelievable. And despite a fantastic performance from Mr. Affleck, Christian’s thorough symptoms remain a mystery.
The young Christian’s parents learn he has autism spectrum disorder in the film’s opening. The Accountant seems to be a serious, pedantic lesson on the subject throughout examinations and consultations with doctors. His parents split up after disagreeing about his therapy, and dad (Robert C. Treveiler) takes over and trains Christian to defend himself against taunting classmates.
In the adult Christian’s future, he is an accountant in a nondescript office building in an Illinois strip mall who is just trying to get ahead. What are two genuine Renoirs and a Jackson Pollock doing in his possession? It turns out that the artwork was payment for his job as a forensic accountant and money launderer utilized by drug cartels and mobsters.
This is when things start to go horribly wrong for the boy, who begins to believe that his newfound faith may be a secret he can’t keep. You see, no one could know about Christian’s true nature because as far back as he can remember, he has always been a follower of the dark side. As a result, you might anticipate him consorting with international criminals and leading an extravagant double life. However, there are no first-class trips to exotic foreign cities; nor are there any scenes of him being wined, dined and entertained by strippers amid piles of cocaine. He is a tortured loner by necessity.
Christian’s condition is the most important aspect of his life and the source of his mathematical genius as a savant with a gift for numbers, which makes him so important. The film devotes significant time to showcasing Christian’s remarkable skills. He’s a walking calculator in other words. He at least has enough self-awareness to be able to describe himself and recognize that his chances of finding love are “two billion to one.”
He figures out that the criminal investigations division of the Treasury Department is on his trail, so he accepts a big legitimate client: Living Robotics, which specializes on prosthetic limbs. Just as the firm was about to go public, Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick), a junior accountant at that firm, discovers a $61 million accounting discrepancy, and she and Christian work to locate the missing cash.
The dialogue between Christian and Ms. Kendrick is more than flirtatious, but it’s not sexual in nature. The film, which sticks to its austere, ultra-macho, harshly misanthropic mentality, does not allow for a romantic connection between Christian and Ms. Kendrick.
Ray King (J. K. Simmons), the ruthless director of Treasury’s criminal investigations division, pushes Marybeth Medina (Cynthia Addai-Robinson), a Treasury agent with an shady past, to expose the renegade accountant in one of three disconnected subplots. The film forgot about them until it was time to wrap things up, which is too bad because they’d have made for some interesting characters.
Aside from Ms. Kendrick, every character is tainted by a pall of sleaze. John Lithgow gives off a sense of conspiratorial malevolence as Living Robotics’ creator, and Jeffrey Tambor conveys a tone of resigned defeat as Christian’s imprisoned mentor. When a strange bad guy named Braxton (Jon Bernthal) appears in the film, you aren’t sure what to make of him until the end; nonetheless, he has no business there at all.
The timeline of “The Accountant” is so haphazard that the subplots resemble pieces of a half-finished puzzle. This lengthy motion picture that never reaches a conclusion apparently discarded entire back stories from its overlong narrative.
“The Accountant” is an R-rated film with a lot of blood and foul language. The running time is approximately 2 hours 8 minutes.
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Directed: Gavin O’Connor
Written: Bill Dubuque
Stars: Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons, Jon Bernthal, Jeffrey Tambor
Running Time: 2h 8m
Genres: Action, Crime, Drama, Thriller
Country: United States
Movie Rating: 3.7/5