The Accountant – a movie review by James Berardinelli

November 1, 2016 by James Berardinelli - Reelviews
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The Accountant is a superhero movie. Despite not being based on an existing comic book (a welcome change), the film has all the beats and tropes we have come to expect from superhero movies, although the R-rating makes it more of an adult experience than one targeted for younger viewers.

The massive success of Deadpool argues that there is room in the genre for films not rated PG-13. Also, the involvement of Ben Affleck as the elite-trained vigilante and J.K. Simmons as his law enforcement contact make it difficult not to notice synergies with Warner Brothers’ newly rebooted Batman franchise. The thing that makes The Accountant unique, however, and elevates it above the garden variety action-thriller, is that the title character’s “superpowers” result from his autism.

It would be easy to make autism a convenient plot device to jump-start The Accountant but the movie treats the condition with respect, even going so far as to provide some PSA-style information (although the scene in which this occurs, shortly after the climax, is awkwardly inserted). Affleck’s Christian Wolff is in many ways defined by his autism. He’s high functioning but the script goes to lengths to show how he struggles with many so-called “normal” activities, how it requires an effort for him to function in social settings, and how his life is regimented and ruled by precision. His condition grants him incredible mathematical and analytical capabilities. His anti-bullying training as a child gives him strength, flexibility, martial arts, and marksman skills. So he’s a little like a socially awkward Batman without the mask and costume.

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