Lord in heaven help me, I cannot stop watching The Accountant. I’ve tried. I’ve really tried. Actually, no. I have not tried. I’ve watched it five times in the last two weeks. I watched it again the other night kind of by accident. I don’t even know how it happened. Like, one minute I was flipping through my cable guide looking for something to leave on in the background while I worked, and the next thing I knew it was two hours later and I was watching HBO and Ben Affleck was hauling his trailer off into the great unknown. It was some extremely “whoops I watched The Fugitive on AMC on a rainy Saturday again” stuff, which is strange, because I didn’t expect The Accountant to become that kind of movie. And yet, here we are. I might watch it again tonight. It’s really getting out of hand.
The time has come to talk about The Accountant.
1. The plot, in short, goes something like this: Ben Affleck plays Christian Wolff, a polite small-town accountant with a high-functioning form of autism who also un-cooks the books for criminal organizations and is an assassin who was trained to fight by his father, an army officer specializing in Psychological Operations, after his mother left the two of them and his younger brother, Braxton, because raising a special needs child proved to be too much for her. Christian’s handler — a voice on the other end of the phone — gives him a new legitimate accounting case while the heat cools off in other areas. The job is for a robotics firm that has uncovered an issue with its books and wants to clear it up before going public. Guess if everything is not as it seems.
(Everything is not as it seems.)
While all of this is taking place, the head of the government’s financial crimes unit is also trying to uncover the identity of this mysterious “accountant,” and has enlisted a young agent with a dark past — which he uses to blackmail her, of course — to help him with the hunt. Guess if everything is as it seems.
(Everything is not as it seems.)
So that’s one way to set things up. Or we could just go with the actual summary HBO Go uses:
Ben Affleck is magnetizing as an autistic math savant whose calm, bespectacled exterior as an accountant hides a dark secret: he cooks the books for criminals and has the fighting skills of a ninja. When his work for a legitimate client takes a dangerous turn, he must trade in his pocket protector for an AK-47 if he wants to live.
“He must trade in his pocket protector for an AK-47 if he wants to live.” I want to take this collection of words out for a lobster dinner.
2. It’s not just Ben Affleck who is in this movie. Everyone is in this movie. Anna Kendrick is in this movie as the in-house accountant at the robotics firm who first discovers the issue. John Lithgow and Jean Smart are in this movie as the heads of the robotics firm. J.K. Simmons is in this movie as the head of the Treasury Department financial crimes unit. Cynthia Addai-Robinson from Arrow and the TV version of Shooter is in this movie as the young agent he recruits. Jon Bernthal is in this movie as the murderous head of a private security firm. Alison Wright — Martha from The Americans — is in this movie as the adult version of a young girl Christian meets briefly at a neuroscience center for patients with developmental disabilities. Heck, even Jeffrey Tambor is in this movie, for about 90 seconds, as Christian’s jailhouse money laundering mentor.
This last one is so weird. Like, they got multiple Emmy winner Jeffrey Tambor to play a role that has next-to-no dialogue. It’s like they saw one episode of Arrested Development and said, “Hey, we need an older inmate who was involved with shady financial things. Let’s call that guy!” I have no idea why Jeffrey Tambor is in this movie. But Jeffrey Tambor is in this movie!