06 November 2016

The Accountant

Suspend disbelief. Suspend disbelief… Feel sleepy, very sleepy… Count backward from zero, suspend disbelief, accountancy is not boring…

A couple of weeks ago when I found myself at loose ends, my friend Geri and I went to see The Accountant. We… were… surprisingly impressed.

A mere 50% of film critics gave it a thumbs-up, but (IMDB IMHO) audiences got it right– 85% liked it, giving it an A on an A+—F scale. Why the huge gap? Most of the critics couldn’t buy the concept of an autistic, kick-boxing/kick-ass accountant. The film– trust me in this– makes the premise painless.

The Accountant contains a surprisingly intelligent plot for a film surfeited with low-brow violent action. This is not a movie for children although one critic suggested it gives autistic kids their own superhero. Think Bruce Wayne gone totally bats. Or Bruce Willis… either works.

The superhero feel might not be a fluke. It appears Warner Bros may have worked out a deal with DC comics. See animated prequel below.

One Ben Affleck scene might flip stomachs, a scene that features the protagonist in his own bedroom fighting his demons. As a couple of characters discuss, it’s impossible to argue the story doesn’t glorify violence. The saving grace is the Accountant’s moral code.

A Puzzling Error

A couple of times in the screenplay the question arises, “Do you like puzzles?”

Me personally, yes, as readers might recall from past columns. One scene in the film raised a flag, although I didn’t tumble to the reason until I later replayed it in my mind. It dawned on me that the dialogue included a classic puzzle. Surprisingly for a movie about math, they got it wrong. I won’t give away the error, but listen carefully when the Accountant mentions he’d lived in 34 locations in 17 years.

The Prequel


  1. Sounds cool. It's taken me a while to warm to Ben Affleck but he's bright guy. I like his stuff. ARGO was excellent. Thanks for the look at THE ACCOUNTANT.

  2. Great column, Leigh. It took me a long time also to appreciate Ben Affleck--for a while I avoided anything he was in, and now (ever since Argo) I want to see EVERYthing he's in. Both he and Matt Damon have come a long way.

  3. Thanks O'Neil and John.

    Ben Affleck (I can't write that without thinking of the duck ad) is all adulty now. It took a while for him to grow on us.

    Critics who complained about the movie tended to criticize his unemotional, even unfeeling performance, but I think that's the point. People with Asperger-like afflictions have trouble connecting with others and expressing what they feel.

  4. I really liked Ben Affleck in Dogma - and now that I think about it, Bartleby was a great rehearsal for The Accountant.

  5. Intriguing comments, Leigh. I'm looking forward to seeing the movie (though I'll probably wait for it to come out on Netflix--going to a movie theater has become such an unpleasant experience that I avoid it unless I absolutely have to see a movie right away).

  6. Interesting point about Bartleby, Eve. That hadn’t occurred to me.

    Bonnie, without a television, this troglodyte enjoys getting out of my cave from time to time. Let me know what you think about The Accountant.

  7. Apologies for being so late to the party.
    Being fascinated with the phenomenon of savants, I thoroughly enjoyed The Accountant.
    Desperate to exercise his prodigious talent, the finances of the underworld are more challenging and offer a never-ending supply.
    Thanks for the recommendation.


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