It’s all about the details for this ‘Accountant’ photo

‘The Accountant’

Starring: Ben Affleck, J.K. Simmons

Directed by: Gavin O’Connor

Rated: R


After being shopped all over Hollywood for years with different stars and directors attached, this was finally made with Ben Affleck and scheduled for release last year only to have it postponed, again. You’ll have to decide if it was worth the wait, but for the price of my ticket, it was well above the standard thriller.

Affleck is Christian Wolff, a small town accountant operating out of strip center. When he’s not saving average folks some much needed cash on their income tax, he’s an international forensic accountant for some very dangerous people. Drug cartels, mobsters, mercenaries, you name it — if they are missing money, this is the guy they call to figure out where it went.

In flashbacks, it’s established that Christian was diagnosed autistic as a child, and if not for a very stern upbringing from his Army dad who had some very controversial ideas about how to raise him, Christian would probably not be the highly functioning savant that he is. But just when you think he’s only about the numbers, he busts out some Jason Bourne moves, dealing out extreme prejudice against those who break his moral code.

That revelation comes later in the movie after he takes an assignment for a legitimate company to throw off some nosy Treasury department investigators played by J.K. Simmons and Cynthia Addai-Robinson, who have been asking questions about some of his clients. This job involves some possible missing funds at a multi-million dollar robotics company run by a brother and sister (John Ligthgow and Jean Smart). An accounting department underling named Dana Cummings (Anna Kendricks) thinks she has discovered some irregularities in the books and Christian is hired to find out if it’s a mistake or something more sinister.

When company executives start turning up dead, it’s pretty obvious something’s not right. Christian appears accustomed to risky business associates, but when Dana is targeted, he goes on the run with her to try and find out who ordered the hit.

What separates this one from the pack of passable thrillers is the intricate script. Timely flashbacks reveal Christian’s full skill set in addition to his talent for numbers, and it’s pretty impressive for an accountant. There are surprising plot reveals right up until the final minutes of the movie that link many of the characters together in ways you may not see coming. It gives this a very satisfactory ending that bring the movie full circle.

Sure, some if it is improbable and there are some plot holes, but overall, it works. Affleck is a wise choice for the role and he brings some depth to the character that makes him almost sympathetic. Almost, because when this guy is not adding and subtracting, he’s a stone cold killer, but only if he thinks someone really deserves it, if that makes sense. Another cast standout is Jean Smart. She’s been popping up lately in supporting roles, and this one is very minor, but she somehow manages to leave an impression.

The body count is pretty high thanks to Christian’s idea of justice and another assassin played by Jon Bernthal, but I can’t say some of them didn’t have it coming. It gives the movie its “R” rating, and some of the violence is pretty brutal, but within context. What truly gives this one the edge are the small details that add up to something bigger. This “Accountant” knows what he’s doing.