Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Accountant


Boy, there’s a title that makes you want to run right out and see it, right? I mean, whose life is more exciting than a CPA? But no, really, how do you make an accountant’s life interesting? By thinking up a highly unlikely plot device … but I have to admit, an interesting one.

Ben Affleck is the title character. He is on the autistic spectrum, what is known as a high-functioning savant. Growing up he showed all the symptoms of severe autism: the obsessions, the compulsions, the rocking stimulation behavior, the inability to deal with loud noises or flashing lights. But his father is a strict disciplinarian, a soldier who forces the kid to learn self-defense. By that he means lethal martial arts, and deadly aim with a firearm. So here we have an autistic savant who is a total whiz with numbers, and also a trained assassin.

I suppose the big thing that actually could put an accountant into deep peril is if he discovers some funny business in the books that someone is willing to commit murder to cover up. That’s what happens, and he and a woman he has just met (Anna Kendrick, great as always at playing awkward) have to go on the run. He is a virgin, of course, because he can hardly bear to be touched. But he likes her, as much as it is possible for him. I was fearful that they would begin a physical relationship, and grateful that they don’t. That’s just not how autism works, sadly.

Affleck does a good job of being a man who can neither show nor discern emotions easily. He must look for little clues to figure out what someone else is feeling. He is very smart, and very good at what he does, both the numbers and the killing. He is usually way ahead of anyone who might come after him. He keeps an Airstream trailer in a storage garage, and everything he needs in the whole world is in it. He can hitch it up and be gone in five minutes.

I shouldn’t say much more so I won’t give away important plot points. I liked it quite a bit, though it went a little overboard in the last fifteen minutes. Well, very few movies avoid that. But even here there was a surprise. The “bad guy” who is after him is a lot more complicated than simply being bad. In fact, he may not be bad at all …