Review: ‘The Accountant’ Takes a Strong Stance on Autism

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Published October 29, 2016
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The Montclarion
Ben Affleck stars as Christian Wolff, a math phenomenon diagnosed with autism, in The Accountant. Photo courtesy of youtube.com
movie review the accountant ben affleck

Ben Affleck stars as Christian Wolff, a math phenomenon diagnosed with autism, in The Accountant.
Photo courtesy of youtube.com

The topic of autism is rarely tackled in studio films, especially in crime stories. It was odd that The Accountant attempted to take on a hot button issue and even more surprising that it succeeded. Under all the murder and secrets lies a heart-warming message of how people with autism aren’t incapable of surmounting to more than their handicap.

The main character, who goes by the alias Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck), has a high functioning form of autism. Wolff has many symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome and is an extremely gifted person. He is a math savant, a CPA accountant, and the other kind of accountant for some very bad people. How he got tangled up in messy business and became a sort of hitman is never answered.

Wolff spends a lot of his time cooking the books of businesses that are hiding things. He basically finds the missing puzzle piece to expose bad business. The film takes place during one of his ventures gone bad. After discovering how a company was shorting itself and putting the money back into the business to increase profits, everyone at the company starts turning up dead. At the same time, Department of Treasury agents are working on figuring out who the mystery accountant for the world’s worst people is.Thankfully, the story never turns into a cat-and-mouse chase.

All Wolff wants is to finish the job he started to find out what’s going wrong. He also can’t stop something once he starts, which is an autism-related tick. The film is an exploration of autism in a way, which was quite interesting. There are also two pretty good twists in the story. The one is easy to pick up on, but the other should catch you off guard.

There are two issues with The Accountant. First, we never actually learn who “the accountant” is. It was a bit of a letdown to not learn much about a character who has trouble expressing himself and socializing. There are a series of flashbacks, but they don’t answer any big questions. For instance, Wolff’s real name is never revealed, which was frustrating.

The other problem was the lack of a substantial role for Anna Kendrick. She plays Dana, an accountant at the company Wolff uncovers the secrets of. Assassins wind up pursuing her and Wolff for their roles in figuring out the truth, but Kendrick is under used and has a weak role. She usually has stronger roles, leading to disappointment in this film.

The goal of The Accountant is to spread the message that everyone has a different definition of normal, meaning that no one is abnormal. It doesn’t matter if you are autistic or not, you can still achieve great things and make a good life for yourself. This film was an intriguing platform for those ideas. The Accountant will make you think in ways you might not have been expecting.

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