The accountant subverts the trope of the suave super-spy that populates modern action flicks and presents someone different.
The incongruity of dogs playing poker charms Wolff, our hero. Not surprisingly, he’s an incongruous character himself. He’s half chartered accountant and half super soldier. He’s a savant with numbers who’s been trained in various martial arts from a young age. He has no friends to speak of and his life is calculated down to the minute, but that has less to do with his job and more to do with the fact he falls somewhere on the autistic spectrum.
The director competently executes the concept of an autistic assassin, which could have blown up in his face. He doesn’t stray from the current mood of action films. The fight scenes are well-choreographed, clean displays that ride the Taken/John Wick line of violence without excessive gore. It doesn’t try to be more than an action film either. Its goal is simple, to give the vicarious thrill of a badass dispatching unwitting schmucks. And it accomplishes that goal while still making the incongruous character of Wolff likable.
My only criticism is that I wish it had tried to be more than a basic action film, surrounded by the well worn tropes like henchman that are shit at their job. The accountant had the potential to be something unique: A stand-alone action film that subverted not just the characters but the genre. Brace yourself for a lot of inconsequential woulda-coulda-shoulda…
The Accountant could have focused more on the theme of puzzles, and better constructed the narrative to reflect that. Instead of constant exchanges of exposition here and there that give Wolff’s back story, the director could have entreated the audience to ‘pieces’ or scenes that come together in the end. Audiences can handle this level of deconstructed narrative; most of us have scene pulp fiction. The fight scenes could have been more focused and brutal, a la History of Violence. And Wolff could have been more affected by the violence. I think this could have raised the film to a cult plain, but it would have sacrificed the audience and the chance of this becoming a series. But I what I wanted and the director’s intentions are two very separate things.
Still, the Accountant more than exceeds at its job of an action film. It’s fun to watch Wolff pick off the bad guys with expert precision. The most important take away for me, is that in Wolff, children who fall on the spectrum, or any kids that feel different or have trouble fitting in, now have a badass that they can identify with. Wolff is a new persona to adopt as they run around the house playing super spy. He can instill kids with confidence and fire up their imagination. Which is important in a world where, as Wolff’s father might say, “Sooner or later, different scares people.”