The Accountant is an action film starring Ben Affleck, Jon Bernthal, and Anna Kendrick. That sentence alone should already have you frantically searching Fandango for tickets to screenings at your local theater. Thankfully, The Accountant has much more than the star-power of its cast list going for it.
Directed by Gavin O' Connor, The Accountant follows a genius accountant who manages the records of dangerous criminal organizations. This accountant is an expert in hand-to-hand combat and an amazing gunman, skills he uses to survive encounters with his dangerous clientele.
It seems like a pretty standard action movie, right? We've already seen the "regular Joe is actually a badass with an incredible set of skills" plot time and time again. However, there is one detail about The Accountant that we definitely haven't seen that much before; the accountant in question, Christian Wolff, is an autistic savant.
An Accountant Assassin With Autism
More specifically, Wolff is a mathematics savant. This means that he's exceptionally great at math, but has issues with certain things that other people do naturally. He's a bit anti-social, awkward, and has a hard time connecting with the people around him.
Before seeing The Accountant, I wasn't expecting it to spend too much time on his condition, but I'm very glad they did. That's because for all the action scenes, for all the epic shootouts and jump-cut fight scenes, The Accountant also does a great job displayng autism. At least, it does in my opinion.
As a full disclaimer, I should let you know that I am not an expert on autism. I'm not even going to pretend to know what it's like to have a form of it. However, I have been around autism before, and while that still doesn't mean I know everything about it, it does help me appreciate how well The Accountant treated it.
How Does 'The Accountant' Handle Autism?
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I know what you're thinking, "How does an action movie like The Accountant feature a good representation of autism"? It delivers a simple, but powerful, message: just because someone's different, doesn't mean they're incapable.
At a young age, Christian Wolff had a fear of loud noises and bright lights, freaking out whenever he encounters them. This causes his parents to seek professional help for their troubled child. However, while Wolff did have trouble with certain things, he was an expert at math, counting, and puzzle-solving — as evidenced by a scene where he solves a Muhammad Ali jigsaw puzzle upside down.
What's more, as he gets older, he trains himself to get over his fear of loud noises and bright lights, to the point where he's using a loud, anti-aircraft sniper rifle to take out his targets!
While the character of Christian Wolff may seem very unrealistic, what with his Batman-like combat skills, he represents a very real idea; that autistic children are much smarter than we believe them to be.
As the movie basically states, we have a certain way of defining "normal" and "intelligent". Autistic people may be different, but that doesn't mean they aren't capable of doing incredible things.
The Accountant has the same message as another favorite film of mine, Rain Man. This movie also featured an autistic savant who was exceptional at mathematics. Like Rain Main, the representation of autism in The Accountant is spot-on.
This may be due to the fact that Ben Affleck prepared for the role by researching real cases of autism. When speaking to the Chicago Sun Times, director Gavin O'Connor talked about how he made sure that Affleck was well-prepared to accurately portray an autistic savant.
“Because it was such an opportunity to play something this fresh and new, I needed him to be as authentic as possible. So, to that end, I met with a lot of people and did a lot of research and read a lot of material so that I could deliver a portrayal that was as realistic and plausible as possible.”
Most films do their best to accurately represent the autistic community, but The Accountant has one of the best portrayals in my opinion. Why? Because it displays the level of intelligence in autistic people.
It shows that autism doesn't necessarily mean 'dumb' or 'incapable', and that there are ways to live with it.
The Accountant is a non-stop, fast-paced action film. But what really separates it from other films in the same genre is the message behind it. I highly recommend checking out The Accountant when it comes out in theaters this Friday!
Thanks for reading! Are you excited to see The Accountant?