What looks to be a serious action thriller puts a lot of heart into its lead, depending on how well the audience identifies with the so-called Accountant when he grew up. The required fist fights and gunplay are broken up with intrigue and humor that keep this flick rolling.
The Accountant finds a financial discrepancy in a company and then is targetted along with a new colleague. Meanwhile, an agent tracks him down and delves into his past.
The Accountant is a stab at creating another modern urban hero. Being a ballistics expert and a combat specialist and having hi-tech backup is a given but making him into a math nerd and crippling him with social awkwardness is a twist. It endears him to those misfits who struggle with human connection while living out the superhero fantasy of delivering righteous justice to crime lords and such. That aspect is easy to embrace, making for a brutal but unexpectedly funny lead. The film does take his autistic condition in two ways, as treating it in the supposed proper way would not have lead to his broken yet competent role that the torturous training molded him to be. He hopes for the former for everyone but the latter defined him and still keeps his supposed disability with humorous bits as a reminder. The funny situations are amusing but with medical implications behind it, perhaps it shouldn't be treated as such? But it does make for an unexpectedly charming hero with badass skills, a strong moral code and still made human by not behaving what is perceived to be as normal.
Ben Affleck submerges his alpha tendencies and becomes a mumbling ball of cringing quietness. His mannerisms aren't exaggerated but are understated enough to make them stand out. It's a rather brilliant transformation for the actor as he remains remarkable consistent with his identity. Anna Kendrick relies on being obliviously cute and provides an impetus from the lightheartedness. Jon Bernthal is a wildcard with a convincing tough exterior. The tandem of Cynthia Addia-Robinson and J.K. Simmons is strong enough to carry a whole new movie spin-off. Their dynamic is ripe with potential, if it lasts.
The main plot is rather straight forward with the mystery presented before the bullets start flying. A painfully awkward slight romantic angle thrown as a bone to traditionalists but is funny enough as it is. The parallel arc with the agent playing detective added more depth into the proceedings, solidifying this film as a practical 'origin' story. With that out of the way, the urban myth could go forward as a franchise if it wants to, provided it keeps true to the character core. Here's hoping for more of The Accountant in the future.