By Preman Koshar || Arts & Entertainment Editor
The Accountant, directed by Gavin O’Connor, is one of those films that, while it doesn’t bring anything really unique or new to the table, is still pretty darn entertaining. The Accountant essentially tells, in its flashback-filled parts, of a young man growing up with an unusual combination of autism, savant-level math skills, and a military Colonel of a father who trained him from a young age to be a deadly fighter. The modern day story, however, reflects the young man as an adult (Ben Affleck), who has become a skilled accountant for the world’s most dangerous people, and occasionally indulges in killing sprees if those people personally violate his moral code.
The cinematography in the film is above average, especially considering it falls into the action genre. There are several well-shot scenes of landscapes, and interesting close-ups of characters. While not astounding, it is certainly a step above what most action films get. The score was also above average—it was interesting without being too obtrusive, which is a good mix. It also reflected some of Affleck’s character’s sensory struggles; this enriched the film significantly. The acting was also above average, though nothing special as well. Affleck did a good job, but that was mostly because his character is largely unexpressive. The girl (Anna Kendrick) he meets (isn’t there always one in these types of films) is boring and whiny, and not really developed as a character. No one else besides Affleck is really developed, though one of the treasury chiefs (J. K. Simmons) comes close to being empathetic. The plot was interesting as a whole, though a bit predictable. I could see the plot twist about half an hour before it was actually revealed. The fighting scenes were unique, however, often involving strange implements such as a belt and a flash bang, which made those segments not as boring as they are in most action flicks. The dialogue was also above average, with Affleck having some notably funny lines. A lot of the success here is due to the screenwriters being completely okay with having extended awkward scenes that, while a little painful to watch, were truly reflective of autism. This area was a little dulled by the fact that the treasury investigators had to throw in a lot of pseudo-formal police-y jargon and posturing catchphrases that were just silly and ridiculous. I don’t know when filmmakers are going to realize that police and other people with titles don’t usually talk to each other by referencing ach other’s titles—it’s just weird and makes me realize that I am watching the work of some Hollywood executive, as opposed to a brilliant screenwriter telling a powerful story.
All in all, The Accountant is a decent standalone film that broaches the topic of autism in an unusual and celebratory way. It has a hero and action scenes reminiscent of the Jason Bourne films, matched with some of the intellect of a Coen Brothers film. It has significant flaws, and fails to be truly unique, but it’s still a good film for a rainy day.
Junior Preman Koshar is the Arts & Entertainment Editor. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.