Let me start off by saying that excellent acting by the entire cast had me fully absorbed in this movie until the very end, as it went from flash-backs to the current, with twists, confusion, family drama, messy characters, and extreme, fast-paced brutality.
The Accountant was not at all the movie I expected to see based on the trailer and description. In fact, it was an extremely complex story about a family torn apart by how to treat the violent tantrums of their younger son – Christian “Chris” Wolff. We see young Chris (Seth Lee) raging over a missing piece in a jigsaw puzzle. We see his parents seeking help from a specialized school for autistic children. We watch Chris’s father, a former Army Commander, reject this type of treatment for his son and, instead, force Chris and his older brother Brax (Jon Bernthal) to learn how to fight bullies using Martial Arts and other fierce tactics, stating that Chris is “different” and other people are threatened by anyone who is different. And we empathize with Chris’s pain when his mother walks out on her family.
Fast forward and we see Chris Wolff as an adult (Ben Affleck), a mathematics savant who functions as a crafty Accountant – mostly for criminal organizations. As an officer at FinCen (Financial Crime Enforcement Network of the U.S. Treasury), Ben King (J.K. Simmons) wants to take down these organizations he spent his career chasing. He especially wants Chris Wolff, the Accountant who cooks their books.
That’s where this story gets a bit muddled. Chris also has a legitimate account, a state-of-the-art Robotics company where he meets Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick) an employee who had gone to the CEO of the company to report inconsistencies (millions of dollars) in their bookkeeping. Chris is hired to get to the bottom of the accounting discrepancies, during which time he and Dana become friends, and the plot thickens. As Chris gets closer to the truth, people begin to die.
Jumping from his early childhood to his grownup life with no sense of what happened in between, I had lots of questions. Where did Chris get his education? What happened to his brother, the only person who understood him when he was a child? As an accountant with his own small practice, how did Chris get his big clients? Who was the computerized voice that gave Chris advice? Who prescribed his meds? And who taught Chris how to manage his autism and OCD behavior?
Although not all, most of my questions were answered in the last few powerful scenes when the flash-backs met up with the present.
Ben Affleck as Christian “Chris” Wolff is intensely spellbinding, Seth Lee as young Chris demonstrates his angst and illness sympathetically, Robert C. Treveiler as young Chris’s dad portrays a conflicted, misguided but seemingly well-meaning parent authentically, Anna Kendrick as Dana Cummings is sweet and totally likable, J.K. Simmons as Ray King is fabulous as always, John Lithgow is lay back with just the right amount of menacing as Lamar Black, CEO of the Robotics company, and Jon Bernthal as Chris’s brother Brax plays psychopath wonderfully.
The Accountant, a Warner Bros. Picture, directed by Gavin O’Connor, produced by Mark Williams, music composed by Mark Isham, cinematography by Seamus McGarvey.