Surprising in its performances and execution, Gavin O’Connor’s film acts as a killer origin to Ben Affleck’s titular autistic, banker badass. While overly complicated in the stitching of its plot, the tight pace and hard hitting action allow for the film to really dig into the characters and scenarios while also allowing for moments of genuine gut busting comedy from the many outlandish scenarios presented.
We follow Affleck as a CPA accountant who is hired by shady organizations to “cook the books” for them and shuffle their illegitimate money into legal sources. Portrayed with a great understanding of the character and working twitches and quirks naturally into the performance, Affleck truly shines in the performance, giving a real sincerity to the character that may have come across as trite and offending had it been a poorer actor. Supporting actors JK Simmons and Jon Bernthal also act as equally compelling characters, compelled by hidden agendas and unexpected ties each add to the convincing world crafted around them. Anna Kendrick also gives a sweet and endearing take at a potential love interest of the Accountant, who is given great material to work with in terms of developing her as more than a typical damsel in distress, unfortunately still seen all over films today.
O’Connor steps out from the shadow of this years misfire Jane Got A Gun by directing with a clean cut aesthetic that often transforms into a hard hitting assault whenever the action ramps up. The script takes its time setting up each of the characters and subplots. Each one seeming important as they interweave from the past to the present in a way that is concise, never acting too fast to lose the audience with great editing by Richard Pearson.
The script does suffer from an over abundance of plot points that sometimes over complicate the actions of its characters. It is greatly appreciated to have a film trust its audience more than the standard “bad man vs. good guy” stale cookie cutter formula.
Some criticism has bubbled from the idea that it is insulting to have a man who is autistic be such a smart and strong anti-hero, that I feel is quite unwarranted. The film takes its time in showing the trouble the accountant has in his youth, bullied and unable to fully contain his emotions. I believe that the film deals with this in a genuine way that gives a credence and believability to his character. It is refreshing to see a major studio allow for such an out of the box decision that promotes greater diversity among the growing crop of boring action heroes and predictable stories.