Let me begin this review by highlighting that action films are not my preference and it took some convincing for me to even see the film. However, The Accountant is as much as drama and comedy as it is an action film. It was emotion inducing: I laughed out loud on multiple occasions and cried at the very end.
The film sees Ben Affleck play Christian Wolff, an accountant with a high functioning form of autism, as he is associated with dangerous criminal organisations including laundering money and involvement with the cartel. Very difficult to provide a summary without containing spoilers, treasury agent, Ray King (J.K.Simmons) employs the assistance of Cynthia Addai-Robinson as Marybeth Medina (or rather manipulates her into accepting the role) to capture Wolff in his tracks. As the agents increase their knowledge of Wolff and appear to make a break-through, the film automatically increases in suspense.
The film begins with Wolff as a young boy in a neuropsychology clinic. His parents are demanding answers and want him to be diagnosed but the doctors refuse to label his condition. I found this to be a wonderful angle to take, with the awareness around mental health increasing. It is these flashbacks to his youth, that I found to contain the best acting of the whole cast. Seth Lee, who plays a young Wolff, absolutely stole the show. The emotional distress and frustration that he exhibits are responsible for providing the depth required to believe in Affleck.
Ben Affleck is undoubtedly a very good actor. You only have to see his acting history and recognition to support this judgement. (He’s not only won two Oscars but has sixty-eight other wins and a further ninety-eight nominations.) However, I found myself doubting his character at the beginning of the film and I struggled to believe his role until the action within the film built and he moved from self-punishment and emotional torture into the action seeking protagonist that his physique suggests. Within this role, he absolutely thrived and this allowed me to understand his character as a whole, and the dimensions within this, although I expect I would have struggled without the flashbacks. However, whilst I understood the majority of his motives, several of these remained lost.
Further acting from Jon Berthnal as Wolff’s Brother, Brax was equally weak at the start of the film developed as the plot thickened. Whilst Simmons and Addai-Robinson were believable as Treasury agent and assistant, I struggled with Kendrick as Dana Cummings, an employee at a prosthetics firm that Wolff becomes increasingly involved in. I found her character to lack depth and believed her to be incorrectly cast for the position, but she did offer an outlet for humour. Additionally, her final scene, which offered an insight into Wolff’s autism was very tear-jerking.
Ultimately, the film is much more than your regular thriller/action movie. It raises awareness of mental health without tiptoeing around the subject or portraying it as having a debilitating impact. It is thought inducing and exciting, though it takes a while for the actors to find their feet and I often found them to be single dimensional.
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