Movie Review – ‘The Accountant’

“Ben Affleck packs a powerful punch in this year’s most spirited action-thriller.”

– Patrick King, REEL BRIEF 


Academy Award-winner Ben Affleck packs a powerful punch in this year’s most spirited action-thriller. “The Accountant” unflinchingly takes on autism, the brain disorder we find Affleck’s character diagnosed with at a young age.  This film passionately walks viewers through the difficult burdens that the disease places upon parents and families with autistic children.  Using a splendid mix of education and humor, “The Accountant” offers audiences a roller coaster suspense ride through the eyes of an extraordinary and vastly talented certified public accountant.

As the socially challenged CPA Christian Wolff, Affleck gives a masterful performance as a lethal wrecking ball, willing to help the average tax filer or even “the scariest people on the planet”. Despite autism holding the math genius back on verbal and nonverbal communication skills, Affleck’s Wolff unleashes his unique numbers game on miscalculated business ledgers. The accountant Affleck plays may balk at personal interaction, but for one who needs repetitive behavior and tidiness in his life, identifying those hiding or skimming funds by dishonest means is as easy as solving a jigsaw puzzle.


The film’s most impressive accomplishment is found in its storytelling.  The mysterious background on two very different lives and how they merge, gains steady momentum over the span of the movie’s 2 hours and eight minutes.  A deeply rich ensemble is anchored by Academy Award-winner J.K. Simmons (“Whiplash”) and Oscar-nominated Anna Kendrick (“Up in the Air”), both attempting to find out more about Affleck’s fondness for tracking money.  Kendrick effortlessly portrays a company accountant who smells trouble rising from her employer’s cooked books. She singlehandedly offsets this edgy, intense movie with a humorous and softer answer to all the math quotients and violent deaths.

It’s J.K. Simmons’ skillful supporting role as the retiring head of the U.S. Treasury’s Crime Enforcement Division, though, that really shapes this plot to expose Affleck’s path of destruction.  In a tenacious game of cat and mouse, Simmons and Affleck shed light on who they are and why.  With a bold, fast-paced and engrossing script, these two relate their life’s judgements using wholly different approaches. Affleck, with nary the eye contact or verbal combat prowess, defers to physical confrontation for his conflict resolution.  Whereas, Simmons argues his case through a law enforcement career of lucky tips and short statements.

“The Accountant” is a fascinating, heartfelt case study into one’s autism and his attempt to live independently.  An exceptional cast reveals several sharp twists with exhilarating action scenes while navigating tax codes and the corporate bottom line.  This film is an adrenaline rush of discrepancies and irregularities in people’s lives that culminates in a touching conclusion. The movie ledger’s bottom line: “The Accountant” gives viewers a wise investment with a huge profit margin!

Grade: A

“The Accountant” opens in theaters nationwide this Friday.  It’s running time is 2 hours and 8 minutes.  The film is rated R for strong violence and language throughout. 

© 2016, Patrick. All rights reserved.

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