Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Accountant [2016]

MPAA (R)  CNS/USCCB (O) (2 Stars)  AVClub (C)  Fr. Dennis (3 Stars with Expl)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB (J. McCarthy) review

Crippled Scholar blog review
LA Times (J. Rodenberg) article on film's portrayal of autism 

Los Angeles Times (K. Turan) review (G. Kenny) review
AVClub (A.A. Dowd) review

The Accountant [2016] (directed by Gavin O'Connor, screenplay by Bill Dubuque) is a quite violent (Parents note that the R-rating here is definitely justified) fantasy that _in a certain way_ does "have its heart in the right place." 

The film's hero is a 30-something male on the Autism spectrum going by the pseudonym Christian Wolff (played by Ben Affleck) whose father (played by Robert C. Treveiller) "a military man," gave him "a unique upbringing":  Rather than conceding to lower expectations for his son, he instead raised him in a manner that fascinatingly challenges him (as the U.S. Army's slogan has been) "to be all that [he] can be."

So dad raised him:

(1) focusing on his strengths.  Indeed, those on the Autistic spectrum are often famously "focused."  So dad had his son focus both on numbers (he becomes an accountant) and ... (as part of a more general formation for self-defense "Son, you need to learn to defend yourself.  Society does not like people who are different") ... on sharp-shooting.  (He also gives him and his non-Autistic brother martial arts training), and

(2) with at least a basic sense of morality: to (a) choose to "independence" (or at least trying) to "accepting failure / victimhood", and to (b) be loyal, at least to family. 

So, in the story, Christian becomes a ... really good (if "off the radar / off the books" ;-) accountant, the kind of accountant who perhaps wouldn't be "mainstream" but if one "had a problem" and _didn't_ necessarily want "to go to BDO" (a fairly famous international accounting firm) he'd be a pretty good guy to go to ...

That, of course, gets him involved with all kinds of shady characters -- drug traffickers, arms-dealers, etc -- and eventually catches the attention of U.S. Treasury officials (played quite well by J.K. Simmons and Cynthia Addai-Robinson) who come to wonder "who the heck is this guy?" who they find in surveillance photos with all kinds of unsavory types / mobsters. 

Much then ensues ...

It's a Jason Bourne-y fantasy:  What if "an accountant" who's "on the Autism spectrum" was _also_ "brought-up to be Kick-A ...?"

But there are aspects of the premise of the story that are IMHO fascinating: What if Christian's tough guy / army dad was at least partly right?  Okay, his son had autism.  But rather than "just cry" why not help him to still be "All that you can be"?

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