Fun fact, did you know that Good Will Hunting was originally going to be a film about a genius who the FBI is after? Another fun fact, I can’t get through a review without being late and referencing Good Will Hunting!
The Accountant is a thriller starring Good Will Hunting co-writer Ben Affleck as a man with autism who acts as accountant to some very dangerous people
Using autism in this movie could have gone SO wrong. A movie in which a condition like that is seen as a positive has the potential to be life-affirmingly awesome or very awkward. What’s cool here is that Affleck’s character isn’t really a superman BECAUSE of his autism, but because of special circumstances involving his military upbringing, coupled with his intense drive for things to make sense, a symptom of his high-functioning autism.
The way the condition is written here is kind of sweet and charming. While some might find the jokes that come from his awkwardness in social situations, it actually served to alleviate the tension of certain scenes like good comedy should.
On top of that, Ben Affleck has proven once again that not only can he direct and write, but he can also act subtly and with grace. He makes it totally believable for there to be a guy who does all this cool stuff while also being autistic.
He also has Anna Kendrick as an accountant who ends up having to tag along with him. She, like almost every other damsel in a thriller, is completely forgotten in the third act till the final five minutes, but hey, ho!
What lets the film down is the story. Any scene that doesn’t have Affleck in it just feels boring. Whole sub-plots and back-stories seem entirely stupid.
If they were going for a theme of “everybody has a past” fine, but they added a scene explaining that one of the treasury agents after Affleck was an offender when she was young and yet it’s barely brought up again. That’s just bad writing.
There is some stuff that kind of works story-wise. JK Simmons plays the main government guy after Affleck and he still delivers a knock-out performance.
Unfortunately, the twists in the main mystery are either predictable or so stupid and contrived that you’d half expect them to appear in a soap opera.
This film is actually kind of interesting. It’s like a mixture of all the generic stupid runaway from baddies and hit them thrillers from the past 20 years with all of the stupidity of the whole thing and the disappointment of the third act kept, but somehow managing to cram in genuinely interesting and likable main characters and comedy.
I’m actually going to give this film a pass. It’s not a great film, it’s not even all that good, but it does get some stuff right.
Recommended Scenario: If you’d like a dumb thriller with some lovely little touches to put it just above some of the rest.