Movie Review: The Accountant is Suspenseful with Plenty of Action

Release Date: October 14, 2016
Running Time: 2 hours 8 minutes
Rated R for strong violence and language throughout, sex references & some sexual references.
Grade: B
Directed By:  Gavin O’Connor
Screenplay: Bill Dubuque

Do you like puzzles?

The latest movie The Accountant is suspenseful with plenty of action. Director Gavin O’Connor (The Warrior) delivers a puzzling film starring a slate of fine actors, featuring Academy Award winner Ben Affleck (Argo, Gone Girl, Good Will Hunting) and Academy Award nominee Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air, Pitch Perfect and Twilight Saga). They are supported by Academy Award winner T.K. Simmons (Whiplash) and Golden Globe winner and Academy Award nominee John Lithgow (World According to Garp).

Ben Affleck portrays Christian “Chris” Wolff, a highly intelligent man that can do complicated math in his head.  He has made a living “cooking the books” for all sorts of people, most of them on the shady side. He has a moral code that you don’t break or face the consequences.


The film opens at a neuroscience center with a young Chris working on a puzzle of Muhammad Ali face down while his parents discuss options with the director upstairs in a loft.   While Chris works on the puzzle, his younger Brax (Jon Bernthal of The Walking Dead and Fury) watches along with a young girl named Justine.  Chris’ mother would like to have him stay at the facility, whereas his father (who is a colonel in the Army) thinks he should be subjected to the things that he is sensitive to such as noise, bright lights and pain.  It is not long before his mother walks out on the family.

Fast forward to the present day where Chris is helping a husband and wife with their taxes.  He ends up befriending them and is invited to come to their farm for target practice.  Chris lives in a home devoid of anything personal.  He has a routine and follows it to the letter.  Everything he holds dear is locked away in a silver Airstream trailer that is kept in a storage unit.  That is where he can be himself.  Home is where he goes through his rituals and takes his medication.

Your son is a remarkable young man.  He has highly advanced cognitive skills.  He has more in common with Einstein or Mozart than he does with us.

The story is told in brief flashbacks of his childhood with his father and brother.  You learn that his father made him fight and learn to use weapons.  His brother’s job was to back him up.  They moved around the world a lot so Chris had the opportunity to train with many experts.

How did you get into financial consulting?

One of Chris’ latest clients is a cutting edge robotics company that makes prosthetics.   An accounting clerk named Dana (Anna Kendrick) discovered a discrepancy with the books.  She has compiled the financials by year and spread out the boxes on a huge table in a conference room.  The dialogue between Dana and Chris is quite comical as he begins to soften and communicate a bit with her. Dana is amazed the next morning that Chris has not only gone through every box and years of financials, but he has written the details on the walls and glass of the conference room.

He explains to Dana that more than $60 million is missing and is discussing the possible root cause when one of the executives walks in and dismisses Dana.  That evening things start to go downhill.   Chris arrives the next morning to find a maintenance worker wiping all the data from the windows. He is devastated because he did not complete the puzzle. Before long, Chris and Dana are on the run from an assassin with an order to take them out.

I have difficulty socializing with other people, even though I want to.

Meanwhile, a Treasury agent named Ray King has assigned an analyst Medina to identify a man that is in a lot of photos with nefarious people all over the world.  Agent King is very interested in catching the man known as “The Accountant”.  Medina is anxious to prove herself.

Although the movie is Rated R for violence, it was balanced with an intriguing storyline told by the amazing cast. The film is like one of Wolff’s puzzles and this critic enjoyed putting the pieces together.

– A.S. MacLeod

Ben Affleck as Christian Wolff
Anna Kendrick as Dana Cummings
J.K. Simmons as Ray King
Jon Bernthal as Brax
Jeffrey Tambor as Francis Silverberg
Cynthia Addai-Robinson as Marybeth Medina
John Lithgow as Lamar Black
Jean Smart as Rita Blackburn
Robert C. Treveiler as Young Chris’s father
Alison Wright as Justine

About Leigh Ann Rassler