The Accountant

There's plenty of time to wonder, as J.K. Simmons narrates page after page of backstory, whether the creators of The Accountant realized that their dutifully twisty R-rated thriller was actually another superhero story.

Yes, it's got trappings of psychology and adult thoughtfulness, speeches about the mysteries of the brain, montages of Ben Affleck, hair cut to look like Jared from Subway, poring over ledgers and -- as in all movies about math geniuses -- intently penning digits onto glass. It's got a puzzle-piece structure, with some scenes' significance only becoming clear much later, but that's all detail work. For all its ancillary characters and interlocking flashbacks and subplots, the movie comes down to Affleck pretending to crunch numbers and then pretending to fight, writing on some windows and then chucking stuntmen through others.

So at its heart Gavin O'Connor's film is the origin tale of yet another unbeatable super-dude, in this case a CPA ass-kicker whose better-than-human skill set comes not from gamma rays or a super-serum but from autism. Here that complex and variable brain disorder is justification for the traits all leading-man superheroes already have, the givens of the genre. The Accountant is about autism -- and accounting -- the same way a Batman movie is about bats. Affleck aspires to a respectful portrayal of a high-functioning autistic man, flattening his affect and avoiding all eye contact. It's surprisingly close to the occasional "serious" Adam Sandler performance, an actor shutting down everything charismatic about himself so that we can be moved by his inexpressive lumpishness, by the lack of him. So, here's two hours of grimly serious puzzle-box dramatics and beat-downs starring Ben Affleck as an Affleck-shaped void.

Credits

Director:

  • Gavin O'Connor

Cast:

  • Ben Affleck
  • Anna Kendrick
  • J.K. Simmons
  • Jon Bernthal
  • Jean Smart
  • Cynthia Addai-Robinson
  • Jeffrey Tambor
  • John Lithgow

Writer:

  • Bill Dubuque

Producers:

  • Mark Williams
  • Lynette Howell

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