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Review: The Accountant

November 7, 2016

I wouldn’t normally have gone to see a film like The Accountant. At it’s heart, it is a crime thriller. An accountant called Christian Wolff (Ben Afleck) makes his living from a client list of criminals. There are a few too many gunshots and a few too many hostage takings for my usual taste. However, it does have more of a storyline than the average James Bond adventure.

I first heard of The Accountant through Facebook, when I saw a post claiming that it portrayed all autistic people as criminals. One of my main interests is disability representation in movies, so I was instantly curious. However, with that first impression to go on, I did not expect that I would like the movie.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that I really enjoyed the movie. Christian Wolff starts life as a severely autistic boy. However, this is not the focus of the movie- viewers only learn this through flashbacks. The focus of the movie is Christian Wolff’s brilliance with numbers, and that was what I liked about it.

Far from being a negative portrayal of autistic people, this movie portrays one autistic man as an all-round person who is more than his disability. It focuses on his talent, for numbers and accounts, and on his intelligence. Yes, some of his clients may be dangerous, as he admits himself, but that is  the point of the movie. Viewers go into The Accountant expecting to see a crime thriller, and Christian Wolff’s autism makes no difference to that strand of the storyline.

By focusing on Christian Wolff’s talent and intelligence, rather than his disability, I hope The Accountant will show some viewers, who may not have experience of disability, that given a chance and the right support, all disabled people have intelligence to show, and can do anything they find interesting.

Christian Wolff even falls in love, with a young trainee accountant called Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick). This strand of the storyline is affected by his autism, as he struggles to express his feelings for her in what might be considered the ‘normal’ way. Still, I was very pleased to see this area being covered, particularly by a mainstream Hollywood movie. For me, the issue of disabled people having romantic relationships is a very important one. I would really like to see more mainstream movies covering this issue.

However, I did feel that the action took place in flashes that felt too short. I would personally have found it easier to follow the story if it had moved in a sequence of time rather than moving around from the present day to flashbacks quite as often as it did. This style meant that some details of the story were not immediately clear to me.

Overall, I would highly recommend the movie. Even if you are, like I was, trying something new at the cinema, it has just enough of something for everyone to make me think that no one will be disappointed.

Also at the Huffington Post.


One Comment leave one →
  1. shaun permalink
    November 7, 2016 1:17 am

    While in hospital I met a dad whose son is taking a Ph.D. in physics at Bristol University. He was very proud of his son, but got a upset because he felt sorry for him as he had to explain to him how to react to some situations. I gather it’s what’s termed a spectrum condition, which means characteristics can vary quite widely amongst who live with it. I did not say at the time but I guess we all learn from our care givers and through experience about how to behave. Though, I speak only as a parent not a psychologist

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