What happens when you give Batman autism and a weird love for Jackson Pollock paintings? Well, you get Ben Affleck in The Accountant. When the trailers were first released for this film, they really didn’t tell you much about the type of character or really the type of movie this was. There was a lot of secrecy around this project and it’s hard to gauge how much faith the studio truly had in this movie.
Our story begins with a boy named Christian Wolff, a highly functional but highly disabled young man. Christian has a form of autism that severely hinders his communication skills and gives him a nearly crippling form of OCD. However, it does heighten his IQ, mathematical, and motor skills. As a child, his mother walks away from his family leaving his Army father to raise him and his brother by himself. Years later, Christian is an accountant who owns a small CPA business in a middle of nowhere town. Little does the real world know that Christian actually cooks the books for some of the most dangerous clients in the world and uses his business as a cover. Christian decides to take a job from a much safer and legal client named Living Robotics. A whistleblower notices that a large sum of money seems to be missing from the books. Christian asks for all the financial records in the last 15 years and unravels a dark secret in the matter of one night.
The Accountant begins to lose its focus on the plot in the second half and seemly turns into a different movie entirely. The movie begins as a character study of the genius that Christian possesses as he can work any set of numbers in his head and even uncook 15 years of financial information overnight. That’s what makes him great at his job. There is a lot of awkward dialogue which is done on purpose to display Christian’s difficulty in communicating with others. This movie feels like a cut and paste film due to the fact there are three different films happening at once and none of the narratives support each other. 1/3 of the story is focused on the character of Christian, another 1/3 is about a retiring agent and a determined apprentice, and another 1/3 is about a hitman who works for companies to take out their ‘bad element’. Not only are three different plots happening but the tone of the film shifts as well. The beginning is a Batman-like origin story, the middle is full of filler and exposition, and the last act is a shoot em’ up that feels like something you would see in a Marvel Netflix series.
The Accountant is a film that is hurt by having one plotline too many. For a 2+ hour film, if they cut out either the Treasury Agent angle or the family angle, they could have polished up the overall writing issues of the movie. Ben Affleck delivers a good performance in a disappointing film. All the other actors feel wasted in their performances. ‘Less is more’ should have been the motto for this movie.
While there are sprinkles of greatness throughout the movie, it’s things such as having nearly 10 minutes of exposition to bring the film to a screeching halt right before a Jason Bourne action scene concludes the movie that enables me from giving this any more than a decent rating. If Warner Bros wants Ben Affleck to be an action star in a new trilogy, they are better off waiting for the Caped Crusader to make his big screen return…without Zack Snyder.