Ben Affleck teams up with Warrior director Gavin O'Connor for a surprisingly layered action thriller.
or some reason, The Accountant has split reviewers down the middle - precisely, as a matter of fact. On critical accumulation site Rotten Tomatoes, it currently stands at 51%. At first glance, this would appear to be because it both does many things and tries to be many things. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that; in this reviewer's opinion, it does them all very well - but frankly, people are not used to seeing an autistic anti-hero save the day, with his fractured childhood told via flashbacks. Especially not in a film that turns into a bona fide Hollywood action flick in its final third.


ith a lead character on the spectrum, the immediate inclination is to zone in on how he's handled, how he's played, etc. Affleck nails the role of Christian Wolff and O'Connor has a clear understanding of the family dynamics of his situation and condition. If you're going to deal with inherently tricky personal drama, you want the director of Warrior at the helm. The scenes told in flashback escalate quickly at points, but they also serve to underline who this man eventually becomes. It can feel like a different film at times, but each moving part works because you get the impression that there was a clear end goal in sight. Affleck is entirely on board with O'Connor's vision and delivers one of his most underrated performances to date, handling the switch between drama and action like the seasoned, versatile movie star that he is.
he action, meanwhile, is helmed with a forceful panache while the more delicate aspects of the story require a defter touch. What is clear is that The Accountant would seem like an extremely tricky film to tackle from the page; how do you juggle this many balls and reach a plausible conclusion? Should the character be funny? Cold-blooded? Context is everything and we're given that in spades. Granted, some it feels rushed, but this man's actions come from a practical place and our understanding of those actions is somehow empathetic.
ook, this isn't a perfect film; it's far from it. But it's trying to do something different, layered and intrinsically difficult with an blatant Hollywood vibe. A lot of people won't know what the fuck to make of that, but audiences have responded positively and it's easy to see why.