Published Oct 14, 2016Ben Affleck has had a tough year. After a very public divorce, the former Hollywood heartthrob went on to play Batman in not one, but two of the most reviled superhero movies of the year (if not the decade so far).
Hoping to stall his free-fall, he's joined forces with director Gavin O'Connor for The Accountant, an unusual action-thriller that offers ample amounts of character drama, heartfelt romance and comedy, both subtle and physical, throughout its two-hour runtime. It's one of the strangest mainstream movies to come out this year. It's also the superhero flick fans of his have been waiting for.
Affleck plays Christian Wolff, a military child from a broken family. After being diagnosed with autism and severely bullied at a young age, Christian is taught by his father to protect himself via a variety of military and martial arts skills. On top of that, he's a natural math whiz.
When Wolff gets a gig looking into the finances of a local robotics business run by a wealthy philanthropist (John Lithgow), it seems like another standard job, but what he finds is some shady bookkeeping and a discovery that puts him and those closest to him — including a fellow CPA working at the company, played with ease by Anna Kendrick — in danger.
What follows is the kind of mild mayhem to be expected from a movie fronted by a buff 40-something wielding power weapons. It's standard stuff, but Bill Dubuque's (2014's The Judge) story somehow manages to weave multiple genres and tropes together without being confusing or losing its unique tone.
There are faults. Seeing autistic people depicted on the silver screen as having some sort of math-oriented special skill is problematic for sure, but Affleck's thoughtful portrayal is a lot more powerful and respectful than characters with similar traits in other movies. He's also the kind of action hero you can't help but root for, and in a year when it was impossible to do so for the caped crusader, that's got to be worth something.