By Hannah Craven
When I first saw the trailer to this film, I thought ‘What is this?’ It seemed strange and boring and I was put off seeing it. But this must be one of the times where the film trailer doesn’t do the film any justice. I’m so glad that I decided to go and view it, after reading the film description. This is one of the best films that I have seen in a long time.
Ben Affleck stars as Christian Wolff, a man who has autism and obsessive compulsive disorder. His job is an Accountant but behind the scenes, he works for dangerous criminals to help them with their books. He is also trained in martial art skills and is a very talented fighter. Ben Affleck is outstanding in this part; I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he is nominated for an Academy Award for this film. He has obviously researched into Autism as his portrayal is excelling. He is so compelling in this role; I couldn’t take my eyes off him. Affleck’s character does remind me of his Bruce Wayne (Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice) but there is so much more depth. There is the right amount of humour from his character when you most need it, as well as the dramatic back story to his life. In my opinion, this is the best part I have ever seen Ben Affleck play. He does so beautifully and with total respect for individuals who have autistic tendencies.
Christian Wolff is asked to investigate the books of a company called Living Robotics, where there is some money missing. During this time though, the Treasury Department are starting to get close to finding out who the mystery ‘Accountant’ is. The head of the Treasury Department is played by J.K Simmons. J.K Simmons is perfect in roles of authority; he proved this in the Oscar winning film “Whiplash” where he received an Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. He is ruthless and hard and is fantastic as this character. During Wolff’s investigations into Living Robotics, he meets Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick.) who becomes his love interest. I do feel that Anna’s character wasn’t fully developed, and that she was just there so that the audience can attempt to see Wolff’s softer side. I would have loved to see more of her.
During the film, we have sudden glimpses back to Wolff’s childhood using flashbacks. This works well to begin with as the audience start to empathise with his character, and with his hard upbringing from his military father who is played by Robert C Treveiler. He is very cruel to Christian; he is the one who teaches him how to fight. He believes that he is weak and needs to be strong with his Autism. Later, during the film, I feel the flashbacks are very confusing and they made me unsure of events. I also feel the friendship between Christian and his brother was skimmed through quickly. I would have liked to have seen more about their relationship.
There is an iconic fight scene in this picture which is choreographed outstandingly; it shows how Wolff can be a fighter. That’s what I love about this film, the mix between his autism and his kick ass fighting skills. I love how the screen writer Bill Dubuque has shown how Christian struggles with emotion and his autism, but because of the way his father has treated him in his childhood, he believes he must be stronger and he won’t stop himself from being that. I personally have never seen this interpreted in other films with a protagonist and an action hero having autism. This helps create awareness and shows a different view to an action character. In other films, characters might have flaws but they would still be physically and mentally strong, which with this isn’t the case. Ben Affleck shows the hardship of having Autism through his acting, there are a couple of scenes where he starts to have a meltdown because he can’t finish a job. This is shown during his childhood as well when he can’t finish the puzzle. This lets the audience know that he isn’t a traditionally action hero but he still is a hero in the audience’s eye because of everything he has had to deal with in his life.
This film is difficult to place in a particular genre; it could be described as a thriller or an action film. One moment it does feel like a complex thriller before moving on to a dramatic action scene which makes me feel like I am watching a James Bond or Jason Bourne film. The director Gavin O’Connor is known for his gritty films such as Warrior (2011) and Jane Has Got a Gun (2015). He is known to experiment and to direct a different genre for each film.
Overall, in a film which feels like Jason Bourne meets Good Will Hunting, I thoroughly enjoyed the complexity of the plot. There were certain elements which were very weak during this film. One of these must be how J.K Simmons and Anna Kendrick’s characters look to be big dramatic characters but they get forgotten about until the end of the picture. Ben Affleck’s acting was outstanding and he was the component which made this film such a success, even though the plot did seem rushed through at the end. This is still a very enjoyable film which kept me hooked from the start. I empathised with Affleck’s character and I came out the cinema feeling so shocked and ecstatic, a surprise after being very wary about the film from the trailer.
So don’t judge the film on the trailer. Go and see this enjoyable thriller yourself.