Ben Affleck stars in director Gavin O’Connor’s The Accountant, an action thriller film that is, at base level, about a traditional anti-hero who saves a damsel in distress, kills a lot of bad guys and gives back to the community. The film is cheesy, but in a good way. If you’re looking to go and see some action, a few relatively golden one-liners and come away having satisfied your craving for a not-too-serious thriller, this is definitely the film for you.
Beyond that, The Accountant also has some components that give it a little complexity. The protagonist, played by Ben Affleck, is an accountant that goes by varying pseudonyms throughout his book-cooking activities and dealings with criminals; when we are introduced to him in the beginning of the film, he’s going by Christian Wolff. Our protagonist is also facing another kind of adversity. Diagnosed with Autism when he was younger, Christian Wolff is raised by a father who encourages him to literally beat his Autism out of himself until he’s “normal” – this is, obviously, very hard to watch.
The Accountant does not pull any punches on the topic of autism. They show the father’s refusal to open his mind to try and understand, the mother’s abandoning of the family due to stress, as well as Wolff’s tics and non-negotiable need to finish a puzzle, or a job that he takes on with the mob. The film also shows Wolff taking his pills each night at the exact same time, or else he has an anxiety attack; these aspects of the film are incredibly valuable because even when Autism is shown in big-budget Hollywood, the realistic details of taking pills, dealing with tics and trying to navigate social situations are not included.
Of course, Wolff is a savant. When we do see autistic protagonists in Hollywood features, they are often a little socially awkward and a lot intelligent – yes, they can’t talk to girls but they are supernaturally gifted intellectuals or mathematicians. Despite this shortcoming, The Accountant is still good. It portrays some very important aspects of the life of someone on the spectrum while also introducing a superhero-like character that has a deadpan sense of humour, crazy karate skills and a genius’ mathematical mind. That being said, there are other characters and plot points involved that present low-functioning Autism – an incredibly relevant and important representation.
Overall, The Accountant is fun. The plot is fairly unique in the genre of action and thriller, and there are some genuinely funny moments written into the script. It satisfies your craving for a cheesy action film and takes some steps in the right direction, representation-wise.