By Stephanie Rosauri
The movie opens with a man running across a busy street and into a brick building. He pulls out a gun and creeps past a hallway that is strewn with dead bodies. He makes his way up a staircase, careful not to make any noise. When he gets to the top of the staircase he hears a man pleading for his life from the other side of a door. The person inside the room is killed and someone creeps up behind the man and puts a gun to his head, roll title: “The Accountant.” The whole movie is like the opening: well-timed and able to inspire tension and anxiety in the audience, but nothing new.
We have seen these characters and this plot before. Ben Affleck plays the main character, a savant who uses his math skills to do CPA work but is also a tough guy.
J.K. Simmons plays a Treasury man on the verge of retirement, which creates a nice deadline for his and Cynthia Addai-Robinson’s storyline.
Addai-Robinson plays a behavior analyst with a rough past, and if you can get over the numerous times she searches things on a knock-off Google only to find out absolutely no information, then you might actually like her character.
Last but not least, we insert a nerdy Anna Kendrick who is there to offer some moments of comedy and show that Affleck’s character has a heart. All of these characters are just a rehashing of characters that have been in many other action films.
“The Accountant” is told in a myriad of flashbacks and side stories that come together in the end like a perfectly put-together puzzle: where all of the pieces fit together flawlessly, but in a bit of a predictable way and nothing that moviegoers haven’t seen already. In the end, it offers a cute and funny story with a moral of how people are different, not less than, by portraying developmental disorders in a unique but not altogether believable way.
There have been many cases of people with developmental disorders like autism doing exceptionally in specific aspects of life. There is a real man who can fly over a city once and recreate the entire city. We also see these abilities portrayed in movies like “Rain Man,” where Raymond, the character with autism, has an incredible ability to recall information. These portrayals in the media allow audiences to extend their belief that Affleck’s character is able to do incredible accounting for bad guys, allowing him to amass a hefty sum of money and valuable items such as a cherished original Jackson Pollock painting. However, this belief may not be able to be extended to believing that Affleck’s character is also able to use those abilities to become a stone cold killer.
One aspect of the representation of developmental disorders in this movie is unique and a bit refreshing. In many movies when someone has a developmental disorder, the movie ends with the character changing and trying to become more neurotypical. Pleasingly that is not what happens at the end of this movie. If you want to find out how it does end, you will just have to go see it!
Stephanie Rosauri can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @b_e_nelson.