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The Warsaw Voice » World of Movies » December 30, 2016
Film review
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The Accountant
December 30, 2016   
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Ben Affleck is a textbook case of a Hollywood rollercoaster: a movie career alternating the highest highs with the lowest lows. The 44-year-old actor and director has lent his name to a number of multiple award-winning movies but just as many Razzie winners and box-office bombs. The Accountant, directed by Gavin O’Connor (Pride and Glory, Warrior), is somewhere between the two extremes and while it is not exactly the pinnacle of Affleck’s acting career, it is absolutely not a flop either.

The movie’s inventive concept is built around a highly unusual main character. Affleck is Christian Wolff, a quiet and seemingly ordinary accountant whose clients are anything but ordinary, from Mexican drug cartels to Italian mobsters to international terror organizations and weapon dealers. Christian gets paid in cash, jewelry and works of art, some of which he keeps in the trailer he has for an office. The drawers of his desk are packed with piles of banknotes, fake passports and jewelry, the walls and ceiling of his “office” decorated with paintings by the likes of Auguste Renoir and Jackson Pollock. The trailer also has a small arsenal that could put Rambo himself to shame. Sniper rifles loaded with fighter jet ammunition, guns with night vision and laser sights—you name it, Christian has got it, complete with a collection of knives to take him across the Amazon rainforest. And he sure has all it takes to survive in the wilderness. He spent his entire childhood moving houses all over the world with his father and brother. Always the oddball in the crowd, he was bullied in each new school and so his father, a U.S. Army colonel, gave him thorough training in martial arts.

What makes Christian different from other people is that he has an acute form of autism. The perks of it are that Christian only needs a few minutes to solve a huge jigsaw puzzle upside down and he can multiply five-digit figures in his head in a split second. The downside is that he has a compulsive-obsessive personality. Food on his plate has to be arranged in a specific fashion with pancakes on the left, fried eggs in the middle and bacon slices neatly placed on the brim. And whether he is about to account for a million dollars that never existed, have breakfast or shoot a man, he will first touch the tip of each of his fingers against his lips.

But apart from working for some of “the world’s most dangerous people,” as he puts it, Christian leads the life of a regular freelance accountant. He fills out tax forms for farmers, store managers, restaurant owners and minor businessmen. In the process, he often does some money laundering for himself to stay under the taxman’s radar.

A new job from a huge biotech corporation does not exactly sound exciting until Christian gets to scrutinize the company’s books. After going through 15 years worth of records overnight, he finds a discrepancy of $61 million, apparently brought out by the corporation’s CFO, who, and here’s the interesting part, dies the very same night from an “insulin overdose.” The body count starts to increase as Christian finds himself hunted by some anonymous thugs. He accidentally teams up with Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick—Up in the Air) from the corporation and together they attract the interest of government agencies, a probe that reveals some shocking facts from Christian’s past.

The Accountant script admittedly comes with quite a few loopholes and the closing scenes are totally over the top, but there are worse ways to spend two hours than Affleck’s latest movie. The fast-paced plot allows Affleck to give a compelling and tastefully amusing portrayal of his character’s autistic personality. And with fight scenes that wouldn’t be out of place in a straight-up action flick, The Accountant totally delivers as a decent popcorn movie.

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