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Film / The Accountant

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"Imagine the secrets this guy has."
"Can our son lead a normal life?"
"Define 'normal'."

The Accountant is a 2016 action thriller film directed by Gavin O'Connor, starring Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J. K. Simmons, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Jon Bernthal, Jeffrey Tambor, and John Lithgow.

Meet Christian Wolff (Affleck), a high-functioning autistic accountant for various dangerous criminal organizations. A mathematics savant, Wolff gains a client in the form of a state-of-the-art robotics company and ends up caught in a web of conspiracy. Things especially turn for the worse when his protegée Dana Cummings (Kendrick) discovers things that would make her a target. But Wolff is very much prepared to deal with such troubles... in most lethal ways.

A sequel is currently in production with Ben Affleck attached to reprise his role.

View the first trailer here, and the second here.


The Accountant provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Christian's dad is a complex example. He's a career soldier who puts his sons (one of whom is autistic) through Training from Hell, starting at a very young age. None of this is what any mental health professional would recommend, but it's clear he's doing what he thinks is best for them, especially as he dotes on them with as much devotion as he pushes them. The results are ambiguous. Both of them become badasses, and the autistic one is highly functional as an adult, but they also both end up criminals of one kind or another after he dies in an unforgivable manner.
    If bright lights and loud noises bother him, he needs more of it, not less! The world is not a sensory friendly place, and that's where he needs to learn to live.
    You think if you don't fight back then maybe they'll like you, stop picking on you and calling you a freak? Well here's what it is. They don't like you. They don't dislike you. They’re afraid of you. You're different. Sooner or later, different scares people. Victim or not? Make a decision.
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  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Several moments, most notably when Ray King talks to Marybeth about his greatest failure.
  • Acoustic License: In a neat subversion, Christian uses a supersonic sniper rifle, as such mooks are killed before the people next to them hear the shot being fired.
  • Actor Allusion: Some of Wolff's prized art pieces include rare, vintage Superman comics, including the famously expensive Action Comics #1 (Superman's debut). Ben Affleck previously played Superman actor George Reeves in Hollywoodland, and he is involved in the DC Extended Universe these days, playing Batman in it, starting with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
  • Affably Evil: Braxton, as shown in his first scene and Establishing Character Moment, when confronting a Corrupt Corporate Executive he has to bully into ceasing his white-collar crimes, he greets the man like they were friends and talks to him in a friendly tone, even as he is beating the man. Lamar Blackburn the Big Bad, is also rather friendly and personable in his day to day life, though it turns to be mostly a façade.
  • Almost Kiss: Dana tries to lean in on Christian, but it's clearly not something he's ready for.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Averted, there was an effort to portray autism with some degree of realism even in a story with this kind of premise. A number of the plot points in the movie are based on actual autistic behaviors.
  • Anachronic Order: Lots of flashbacks throughout the film flesh out the backstory of The Accountant and Director King.
  • Artistic License – Law: Medina's hunt for Wolff is completely pointless from a legal standpoint; her summary audits of ZZZ Accounting's neighboring businesses which revealed their purpose as fronts for money laundering is a blatant violation of unwarranted search and seizure.
    • Although it turns out that King's motivation for searching out Wolff isn't to expose him, but rather to expose Medina to him.
  • Artistic License – Statistics: In one flashback, Chris's father says of a group of boys that it's a ninety percent probability they're all right-handed. In reality, it's more like there's a 90% probability that any given person is right-handed, and when looking at a group it's 90% to the power of the number of people in the group.
  • Asshole Victim: Lamar, who gets shot in the head by Wolff after Braxton makes his Heel–Face Turn.
  • Badass Adorable: Wolff and his brother Braxton were trained in martial arts at a young age as shown in a flashback.
  • Bait-and-Switch: When we first see King, he blackmails Medina into helping him find Wolff, leading us to believe that the Treasury will be the antagonists and that they'll eventually conflict with Wolff in the middle of the movie. However, after we see both Braxton and, later on, Lamar as our true villains, it's revealed that Wolff was actually helping the Treasury by reporting crimes and stopping criminals and that King's blackmail was actually a desperate attempt to get Medina to gather context for Wolff so that, when he asks her to take his place as Wolff's receiver when he retires, it won't come out of left field for her.
  • Berserk Button: Threatening, injuring or killing people that Wolff has befriended is a bad idea. You can see it being pressed when the belt-bound merc offers up Dana's ID badge during his interrogation; Christian's normally inscrutable face turns seething, and he strangles the merc to death anyway despite his compliance in the interrogation.
  • BFG: Wolff likes to do target practice with a Barrett M82, an anti-materiel rifle that fires huge .50 BMG anti-materiel rounds. He gets to use it on mooks at one pointnote 
    • He also has a minigun to protect his house.
  • Big Bad: Lamar Blackburn, the CEO of Living Robotics.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: Wolff's.
  • Black-and-White Morality: Medina has this mindset, as seen when King tells her that Christian is, for all rights and merits, on their side. She points out that he's still a criminal both through associating himself with criminals and murdering said criminals. Though she doesn't seem to let it take over her and takes up King's sword in being the one informed by Christian's antics.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: From Treasury's standpoint, Wolff is a case of this. He's a remorseless criminal who dutifully cooks the books and investigates missing funds for international criminals trafficking in everything from drugs to guns to stolen artworks, making millions of dollars in the process. However, he also leaks information to Treasury on clients who violate his ethical code, such as terrorist groups and human trafficking rings, helping law enforcement save countless lives. Wolff's actual motivations turn out to be more a case of Black-and-Grey Morality. Most of his money, we find out towards the end of the film, has been donated to a clinic for autistic children. His ethical code doesn't line up with the law, but it is iron-clad.
  • Blunt "Yes": Lamar ends his Motive Rant at Christian about how he improves lives and heals broken people with "Do you know what that's like?" Christian answers bluntly, "Yes, I do." and then casually finishes his retaliation for the hit on Dana. He can say so truthfully because he donates a sizeable portion of his immense illicit income to an Autism treatment home.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Christian's natural method of gun-play involves his, often even shooting mooks in the head twice to be sure. Wolff kills Lamar like this after Braxton makes his Heel–Face Turn.
  • Boxed Crook: King learns that Medina lied about being a convicted felon when she got her job, which is itself a felony. She can either agree to work with him on his pet case, or he'll turn her in.
  • Busman's Holiday: Christian only took the job with Living Robotics to take a break from his work for dangerous criminals. He ends up stumbling upon a case where the guilty party is willing to send a small army of killers to cover it up.
  • Cain and Abel: Wolff and his brother are a subversion. The only time Braxton actually tries to hurt his brother is before he realizes it's him. After that, he starts beating the shit out of him, but it's clear he's just upset at him for disappearing for ten years after their father was killed. The two of them seem to (mostly) work out their issues.
  • Cell Phones Are Useless: When Wolff learns that Dana is going to be killed, he tries to warn her by calling her, but since she didn't exchange numbers with her, the call comes up as an unknown number in Dana's phone, so she ignores it.
  • Character Tic: Christian blows on the tip of his fingers before undertaking meticulous tasks.
    • His handler has a habit of saying "Heavy sigh" to demonstrate frustration... because she can't actually sigh at all.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Wolff's brother, who features prominently in the flashbacks, isn't seen in the present day. Until it's revealed that he, Wolff's Brother, is The Dragon. And the girl from the neuroscience institute turns out to be incredibly important.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Christian has a nightly routine of blaring loud music, flashing strobe lights and using a wooden bar to massage his leg for 20 minutes, all of which is to counter his over-sensitivity to noise, lights and touch. All of which comes into play in the climax as he is able to remain calm and focused while dealing with the noise and muzzle flashes from gunfire.
    • During a flashback, we see a fighting coach hired to train Christian and his brother use a scarf as a whip. Shortly after, Christian uses his belt as a whip to maintain distance against a knife-wielder.
  • The Commissioner Gordon: Christian sells his services to various terrorists, cartels and big businesses, and using the insider knowledge he acquires he passes that information to King anonymously, who uses those tips to help take down those groups. King brought in Medina for the purpose of taking over when he retires. For bonus points, Ben Affleck and JK Simmons actually have played Batman and Gordon opposite one another.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Wolff initially goes through Braxton's goons pretty easily but the fewer remain the more difficulty he has fighting them to the point the last two nearly kill him. And the last one had to be killed by Wolff's brother to save him.
  • Contrived Coincidence: What are the odds that the hitman hunting down the Living Robotics employees would turn out to be Christian's brother? Lampshaded when Christian actually starts to calculate those odds before being told to shut up.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: In addition to being the Big Bad, Lamar also turns out to be this. Although, interestingly, he is also a Well-Intentioned Extremist.
  • Covert Group with Mundane Front: ZZZ Accounting, a hole-in-the-wall firm in an out-of-the-way strip mall which contains Christian Wolff's office. It's actually chosen to be the absolute last business one finds in phone books and search engines(a reversal of the origins of Acme Products), and he owns every other business in the mall as fronts to launder his money. The only reason Medina found him is because she badgered a pliable IRS agent into investigating every man in the US named after a famous mathematician — specifically a blatantly illegal audit of every other business in the said strip mall.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Think Wolff is just your typical nerdy accountant who's not a physical threat? Think again.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: As soon as Wolff stops holding back, he easily defeats his brother in a matter of seconds.
    • Wolff in general dishes these out pretty well. It helps that he's big, very well-trained, and his autism has given him incredible focus.
  • Daddy Issues: Christian's relationship with his father was rather strained. They cared about each other, but reserved expressions of it to the military way. Christian goes to great lengths to avenge his surrogate paternal figure, Francis, he never sees the need to go after the man who shot and killed his biological one, as that was unintentional on part of the killer.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Wolff and Medina.
  • Darkened Building Shootout: The final shootout at Lamar's mansion.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Subverted with Wolff, whose expressions of irritation sound like sarcasm to Dana.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Wolff and Dana form a bond with some clear romantic undertones, but he chooses not to pursue any potential relationship due to the dangers of his lifestyle and personal issues. He still makes a parting affectionate gesture by gifting her his Jackson Pollock painting.
  • Does Not Understand Sarcasm: Double Subverted. According to Wolff himself, he never uses sarcasm, but he appears to have no trouble understanding it. (It's rhetorical questions he struggles with.)
  • Double Tap: All the hitmen going after Dana get shot twice in the head by Wolff and his silenced pistol as he works his way through them.
  • The Dragon: Braxton, though he makes a Heel–Face Turn following his fight with Wolff.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: While Lamar may be the Big Bad, the mercenary he hired, Braxton, serves as the biggest threat in the film. He is the one who does all The Heavy lifting, the planning, the only one who can match Wolff, his brother, in hand to hand combat, while Lamar stays out of his way and remain a Non-Action Big Bad. Braxton himself doesn't really like Lamar at all and lets his brother shoots him.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: Christian puts himself in harm's way for the sake of Dana, whom he had brief moments of connection with, though their meetings can be counted on one hand. His handler even comments on this.
  • Easily Forgiven: Wolff and Braxton immediately made clear they hold no ill-will against the other and won't harm each other, despite Braxton's slaughter of many innocent people and Wolff's being the indirect cause of their father's death, and never contacting Braxton afterwards. It's part of the indoctrination by their father who told them that family comes first, in good times and bad.
  • Enemy Eats Your Lunch: Living Robotics's CFO, Chilton, heads downstairs for a midnight snack, only to find Braxton in his kitchen, having his lemon meringue pie, along with a glass of milk. After serving Chilton another slice, Braxton gives the completely cowed man two options for how he can be killed: an "accidental" insulin overdose, or a faked home invasion that will also have to include Chilton's sleeping wife.
  • Enfant Terrible: After receiving combat training from his father, Christian's tantrums went from simply being loud to destructively violent.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Wolff's brilliance is established when, as a child, he completes a puzzle facedown. His inability to leave a task incomplete is established when he can't find the last piece and has a panic attack.
    • In his first scene as an adult, Christian is doing taxes for an older couple worried about losing their farm. Even though he's incapable of conversing with them normally (and even though his tax preparation service is just a front), he goes out of his way to reduce their tax bill and get their finances in order. He clearly doesn't really know how to deal with people but does want to help them.
    • Braxton is introduced bullying a Corrupt Corporate Executive into ceasing his current mishandling of his clients' accounts, in a surprisingly friendly and upbeat tone.
    • Dana sleeping on a desk when she's supposed to be meeting Christian.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: A somewhat ill advised one with Wolff interrupting Dana's Almost Kiss by springing up and rattling off an example of a man who laundered money overseas initially for tax evasion, only to send it back to inflate his stock price for a public offering.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Braxton, once he realizes that Wolff is his brother, doesn't hesitate to kill his last remaining henchman when he won't stand down, and while he does fight Wolff, it's established that, due to their father's particular parenting method, fighting is a way they can communicate with each other; indeed, Wolff lets Braxton whale on him for a while.
  • Evil Brit: Wolff's handler, inasmuch as she puts him in touch with cartels and similarly criminal groups. Though it transpires that she is not in fact British at all, but using a text-to-speech converter.
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: A sympathetic example. King, and subsequently Medina, are effectively taking sole credit for major cases given to them by Christian, who secretly acts as their informant. Because of the unique situation King and Medina both agree that it is in everyones' interests for the arrangement to continue.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: When the home invader who just shot his way through a dozen professional killers, starts to recite a nursery rhyme, Lamar looks confused, whereas the leader of said band of professional killers… looks like he's about to cry, and finishes the nursery rhyme.
  • Flipping the Bird: The Accountant's brother, Braxton, does this to their mother during a flashback when she leaves the family.
  • Foil: Medina to Wolff, to a certain extent. They're both outsiders who have troubled pasts and No Social Skills. Medina started out as a delinquent and engaged in vigilantism to protect her sister, but ultimately wound up working for the law. By contrast, Wolff was raised by his military father and ultimately wound up a vigilante. Wolff ends up feeding leads to Medina at the end of the film.
    • Wolff is this to the Big Bad Lamar Blackburn. Both are wealthy millionaires, however, Lamar uses his wealth and flaunts it explicitly in investments like his robotic prosthetics company and his mansion. In contrast, Wolff is wealthy, but he chooses to hide his wealth, and live externally as a humble accountant with no crazy rich toys (except for the .50 sniper rifle Christian uses for target practice); Wolff hides the possessions that would show how wealthy he is, along with other sentimental possessions, in an unassuming trailer in a storage unit to keep them safe and because the trailer's his second home in case he has to drop his current alias and leave.
    • They also contrast from each other in character and personality; Christian is a forensic accountant who works with several criminal enterprises and his autism makes him anti-social and he usually attempts to avoid small talk and any kind relationship with anyone. However, he is shown to betray his criminal employers with anonymous tips to the U.S. Treasury Department and cares when innocent people are in danger, going out of his way to protect them at risk of his own safety. Lamar, on the other hand, is initially is a warm-hearted, charitable man who makes advanced prosthetics for disabled people. Then, it's revealed that he's been committing fraud in his company in order to fudge up his numbers so he could go public and has his friend/business partner and then his own sister killed, then attempts to do the same with Dana and Wolff to cover up his scheme, arrogantly saying that he's doing it for other people's benefit.
  • Forensic Accounting: Wolff's speciality, towards both legitimate businesses and... otherwise; he's smart enough to do it quickly and cleanly, "clean" enough to be trusted over in-house accountants, and tough enough to survive any attempt to kill him to cover up problems. There's an entire sequence that shows Wolff's method and manages to actually make it interesting.
    • The sequence even includes some real aspects of forensic accounting like determining that values in a suspicious account were likely faked based on patterns in the digits that would be unlikely to happen by chance.
    • The film also provides an interesting example of realism in regards to criminal organizations. When such groups start making money, it becomes important to keep detailed books because they are functionally a business. Thus the need arises for discrete accountants to keep track of their money.
  • Friend on the Force: King becomes a receiver for hot tips to the Treasury Department from Wolff, should any of Wolff's clients end up offending his Blue-and-Orange Morality or decide he shouldn't outlive his usefulness to them. King went from on the verge of retiring from a lackluster career as a Treasury Department agent to a meteoric late-blooming career as he knocked down every criminal enterprise that Wolff tipped him off about. The secondary storyline of the movie involves King grooming Medina to succeed him in receiving Wolff's tip-offs since he's soon retiring for real.
  • Good Parents: When Wolff catches King eavesdropping on his warpath on the Gambino hitmen who killed his friend, Wolff presses him at gunpoint, asking if he's a good agent, which King confesses he's really not. Wolff then asks if he's got family and if he's a good father. King's conviction that he thinks he is convinces Wolff to let him live.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The merc that Christian shoots with his Barrett when the farmer couple is taken hostage slumps in a manner that conceals his head... because it's all-but-ensured that his head was obliterated by being shot with a sniper rifle designed to disable car engine blocks. The director did not shy away from other instances of headshots or their aftermath being clearly shown when made by small-arms caliber weapons.
  • Gun Porn: On searching Wolff's house, the feds find a .357 Colt Python loaded with Hydra-Shok rounds Velcro-ed to the wall. Then they find a minigun hanging from a pintle mount covering the front of the house. He also owns a Barrett .50 calibre he uses for casual plinking (and to Shoot the Hostage Taker). His real 'work' weapons he keeps on a Wall of Weapons in his mobile home, along with everything else he values.
  • He Knows Too Much:
    • Wolff and Dana are targeted by the Big Bad when they discover that someone is stealing money from Living Robotics, which is later revealed that the company is stealing money and putting it back, in order to make it seem that the company is richer than it is.
    • Dana's discovery of Wolff's true profession has the latter immediately work to try to get her to safety.
    • Silverberg also warns Wolff that his knowledge of his clients' secrets will soon get him killed.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Braxton at the end, when it's revealed that he and Wolff are brothers.
  • Hollywood Autism: Deconstructed.
    • A common characteristic of people on the autism spectrum is a need to finish a job no matter what it is, and a dedication to routine. Disruption of either these things will cause severe stress and anxiety, as shown when Christian could not complete his accounting job.
    • Neglecting to teach your autistic kid good social and emotional skills will lead to grave consequences down the road. Christian's meltdown at his mother's funeral is how Christian's Dad was shot by Sheriff's deputies and how Christian ended up in prison. It is only in prison that Christian is able to learn useful social skills for the criminal underworld from Francis.
  • Hollywood Silencer: Averted, the sounds of the suppressed guns in the movie are depicted realistically. The film also avoids showing the suppressors being screwed into the guns' barrel and instead shows the suppressors being screwed onto the barrel of the gun.
  • How We Got Here: The opening scene shows a man with a gun making his way through a building where a shooter is methodically killing everyone inside. The scene gets revisited later when Medina analyses an audio recording of the incident, and again when Director King tells her the story of the day when he entered that building and met The Accountant.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: There is quite a height and size difference between Christian and Dana (Ben Affleck is a very large 6'4 and Anna Kendrick is a petite 5'2).
  • Hypocrite: Christian's mother says she's leaving because she's upset that his father refused the help offered for Christian. However, it appears that she's really leaving because she can't deal with Christian's behavior, as she doesn't even bother to take him and his brother from their father. The revelation that she proceeded to have another family after abandoning her first one makes her an even more terrible person.
  • I Have a Family: When Ray King was cornered at gunpoint by Christian while witnessing the latter's Roaring Rampage of Revenge on the Gambino gang, he talked about his two kids and how he's done his best to be a good father to him. This leads to Christian not only sparing Ray but becoming his informant and leading him to his current position.
  • Implied Love Interest: Dana certainly seems to be into Christian, but his returning her feelings is left ambiguous. He backs out of her attempted kiss, which could be a result of his lack of social skills, a lack of any desire, or simply being way too caught up in their current dangerous situation to be capable of dealing with romantic emotions. Moments after he gets his "Eureka!" Moment regarding the motive for the missing money, shortly after he leaves the hotel, and they apparently never see each other again.
    • His final interaction is gifting her a picture of Dogs Playing Poker which is a cover for his true gift: his genuine Jackson Pollock painting that she took interest in while taking refuge with him.
  • Improvised Weapon:
    • Merc pulls a knife? Christian pulls off his belt. And his first move is to snap the hitman in the face with it. Chris then handily binds up the merc with the belt and does an on-the-spot interrogation.
    • Despite Dana not being an Action Girl, she was actually able to fend off an assassin using a stove grille and a toilet tank lid. This bought her enough time for Wolff to show up and save her.
  • The Informant: Wolff is revealed to be an unofficial one to the Treasury Department, specifically Director King.
  • Inspector Javert: Medina, for most of the film. She is correct that Christian is a criminal and a very dangerous one as well, but she breaks the law herself to obtain an important clue and nearly gets rid of one of the most important informants her department has just because the guy is not officially one. Thankfully King is able to convince her otherwise.
  • Inspirationally Disadvantaged: The first trailer starts off giving you the impression that this will be one of those films. It really isn't.
  • It's All About Me: Lamar Blackburn, whose Motive Rant makes it seem like he's the only one that matters; that he's the only one who makes other people whole. Nevermind all the other people who actually do the work of research and development, nor the people who manage the money and keep the business afloat.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Wolff's father may have been going about it the wrong way but he is right when he says the world is not friendly for people like Wolff and that he must learn to adjust to it.
    • Lamar Blackburn also has a point in saying Living Robotics could help a lot of people, even if he does resort to fraud and hiring mercenaries to murder everyone in his way to get funds.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Braxton killed many innocent people under Lamar's orders, but he ends up pulling a Heel–Face Turn at the end, not even mentioning the people he killed.
    • Wolff himself is, at best, A Lighter Shade of Gray than Braxton, and gets to continue living his life as usual at the end.
    • Discussed as a moral dilemma near the end by Media and King when King reveals he's grooming Medina to take his place as receiver for The Accountant's anonymous tips. Medina is initially repulsed, calling the Accountant a criminal, a "fucking killer". King retorts that he had the same moral dilemma before realizing he spent his whole life missing lucky breaks in his career and life.
  • Karmic Death: Christian's father did all he could to prepare his son for physical threats that he neglected to help him develop emotionally or socially. When the two visit the wake of Christian's mother, the boy has a breakdown and starts lashing out at innocent bystanders. The attending police officers draw their guns on the manic Christian and his father winds up taking the bullet, paying the price for his developmental neglect.
  • Literal-Minded: Christian is autistic and tends to struggle with spotting sarcasm or rhetorical questions, responding completely seriously.
  • Long-Lost Relative: Braxton is Wolff's estranged younger brother.
  • Mathematician's Answer: When Dana is in the place where Wolff stores his guns and money, she asks in disbelief "what is this place?" He replies with the model (PanAmerica, Airstream) and dimensions of the trailer (34'7" by 8'5").
  • The Mafia: The Gambino family. Wolff's prison mentor, Francis Silverberg, worked for them before selling them to the FBI out of fear for his life. They caught him after his release from prison and tortured him to death. It prompted Wolff to go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against them.
  • Meaningful Echo: In the beginning, King holds a speech where he tells everyone that they solved a case with "good, old fashioned team-work". At the end, Medina holds a similar speech, about solving the Living Robotics fraud case, and instead of throwing Christian under the bus, she attributes their success to "good, old-fashioned team-work", hinting that the unnamed case King spoke about early on was also secretly assisted by Christian.
  • Menacing Hand Shot: During the confrontation between Wolff and the bearded merc, after they're thrown from the farmer's truck, the camera briefly focuses on the merc's right hand as he pulls his knife out before cutting to Wolff taking his belt off.
  • Missing Mom: Wolff and Braxton's mother left when she could no longer deal with her husband's way of dealing with Christian's situation.
  • Mood Whiplash: A few minor ones due to Wolff's social difficulties. But when he solves the money trouble and shares a happy moment with Dana, it's interrupted by news that the CFO and key suspect "killed" himself. On a more positive note, he brutally beats a giant mook and breaks his neck, and then cheerfully waves to horrified witnesses and strolls off without a word.
  • Motive Rant: Blackburn tries his best to explain why he did what he did to Wolff. It doesn't work, and probably didn't even register.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Never has accounting looked more awesome and exciting than when Christian does it.
  • Mugging the Monster: Braxton's mercenary outfit truly thought they were going to hit a nebbish accountant when they carried out the hit on Wolff.
  • Neck Snap: Wolff uses a combination of a belt and his legs to do this to a bearded mook.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: Wolff is advertised as a vigilante/hitman, with his skills coming from his autism. The film does not go down that line.
    • Wolff really is "just" a very good accountant who is willing to work for criminals. He has deadly skills to defend himself when necessary, but the only times he's shown proactively attacking people is when they killed his mentor. And while his autism makes him extremely focused, and his overstimulation routine results in him being unnaturally cool under fire, otherwise his autism is a character trait.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: Lamar Blackburn is just a Corrupt Corporate Executive who doesn't even try to confront Wolff on his own, and once Braxton does a Heel–Face Turn, he is left completely defenseless and Wolff simply blows his brains out without second thought.
  • The Obi-Wan: Francis Silverberg serves as this to Wolff to a certain extent, serving as his mentor in accounting. His death is the impetus for the Roaring Rampage of Revenge that King witnesses at the start of the film.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: Both the mob killing that Agent King investigates and Wolff's time in prison with Francis are revisited in the second half of the film, revealing an Anachronic Order.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: To underscore how rattled Wolff is at having the accounting project shut down before he can finish it, we see him parking his vehicle very poorly.
  • Passing the Torch: Ray King has only a few months left before he goes into retirement, and wants Medina to take his place to get intel from the Accountant.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Lamar refers to Christian, an autistic man, as a "freak." However, saying this in front of Braxton seems to clue him in for the first time that their highly-skilled opponent has a neurodevelopmental disorder, just like his older brother whom he hasn't seen in years.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Both Braxton and Christian himself work for criminals, but simply see it as a job to be done. Christian rats out any that violate his own personal moral code to King, and later Medina.
  • Red Herring: The female executive, who is briefly thought to be the Big Bad by Wolff, until he finds her with a bullet in her head, thanks to Braxton.
  • Retirony: Director King is seven months from retirement, and determined to find The Accountant's identity before he retires, assigning Medina to be his point man on the case. Ultimately averted as when it is revealed he already did all he could to find out who The Accountant really is, and was actually grooming Medina to be The Accountant's contact inside the Treasury Department by making her walk that same path.
  • The Reveal: Multiple:
    • King talks to Medina to reveal that Wolff is, in fact, both an Anti-Hero who informs on his worst clients, and that King's late blooming career is the result of such information.
    • The Big Bad is in fact Wolff's employer, Blackburn.
    • Braxton, the lead mercenary employed by the villain, is in fact Wolff's little brother, and their bond is still strong enough that except for a short emotional fistfight, Braxton doesn't interfere when Wolff kills the Big Bad.
    • Christian's handler is actually Justine, a low-functioning autistic woman he befriended as a child who communicates through a speech program.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: Christian makes a lot of these, such as when Dana talks about the prom dress she wanted which wasn't occasion-specific, and Christian comments that that makes it an investment; she rhetorically asks "where were you when I was in high school?", and he replies that he was in North Carolina and Israel at that time.
    • Lampshaded near the end by Braxton, when Christian tries to answer a question about what the odds were they would run into each other just there.
    • Then inverted, as Braxton asks where they'll meet in a week, and Christian takes it as a rhetorical question. Because, his next comment makes clear, he will just find Braxton wherever he is in a week.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Wolff goes on a horrific crime spree against the mob who killed his mentor.
  • Room Full of Crazy: Wolff is shown during a Hard-Work Montage writing the numbers on first the whiteboard, then the glass walls of the office they've given him. He actually starts acting most disturbed when the company shuts down his investigation prematurely and gets the cleaners to remove the numbers from the walls.
  • Rule of Symbolism: When Christian first meets Lamar, their handshake is framed over an ad for Lamar's prosthetic company, showing a mechanical hand shaking a real one; this highlights Christian's seeming emotionlessness against Lamar's external warmth. Of course, we later learn that that's a complete inversion of their inward natures.
  • Satellite Love Interest: Dana's most important moment (finding out about the accounting issue) is her only really critical moment in the movie, and it happens off-screen before the events of the movie even begin.
    • Her only other major scene together is Dana relaying the story about growing up, trying & failing to win at blackjack to make money for her prom dress. This is enough to "make a connection" with Wolff, to the point that it motivates Christian to be pissed enough to hunt down the Big Bad instead of just abandoning her.
  • Sensory Overload: As an autistic man Wolff is naturally very sensitive towards intense sensations. As a form of exposure therapy he performs a nightly ritual in which he rolls a dowel against his leg while blasting loud metal music and having the lights flicker.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: It makes sense that somebody with No Social Skills has no interest in wasting time arguing with the villain.
  • Shown Their Work: How the film depicts Christian's autism. Many of his behaviors, like the need to finish a job and patterned behaviors, are real behaviors by those on the autism spectrum.
  • Simple, yet Awesome: Due to his extensive combat training, Christian's fighting MO is to do things as quickly and as simply as possible and he uses fighting styles built around practicality such as BJJ, Judo, Muay Thai, Systema, Krav Maga and with his main one being Silat or he just shoots them and gets it over with.
  • Storming the Castle: The climax has Wolff attacking Lamar's mansion.
  • Survival Mantra: Wolff recites "Solomon Grundy" in high-stress situations as a coping mechanism.
  • Take Up My Sword: The entire reason why King had Medina investigate on Christian in the first place. He's retiring soon and needed someone to be there for Christian when he reports the criminals.
  • Themed Aliases: Wolff takes his from historical mathematicians. Even Christian Wolff is one. His real name is unrevealed.
  • Title Drop:
    Medina: So who is he?
    King: The Accountant.
    Medina: Like...a CPA accountant?
    King: Not quite.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: Medina's dilemma about replacing King as The Accountant's inside contact in the Treasury Department. Once she has all the facts about him from King, she is initially repulsed by the prospect, calling Wolff a "criminal" and a "fucking killer". King reveals that he faced the same dilemma, but then realized that before his fateful encounter he had recognized his lucky breaks only after they had passed. At the end during the press conference on the Living Robotics investigation, for a moment it looks like Medina may spill the beans about the true source of the information, but she covers it up with a "teamwork" spiel. King smiles, confident he has found his successor.
  • Tranquil Fury: When the Big Bad finally reveals himself to Wolff, the latter simply says "not happy" in a very quiet voice. Earlier, he ruthlessly, coldly, and efficiently kills each and every member of the hit squad that went after Dana; the only one putting up any major fight being the last one.
  • Truth in Television: The clever way Wolff identifies the fraud by finding statistical anomalies in numbers' digits? That's actually a real thing. Although it's usually done with computers instead of savants.
  • Tyke-Bomb: Christian and his brother were trained by specialists in various forms of combat since childhood.
  • Un-person: King doesn't know anything about who Christian Wolff really is, despite knowing he has prior convictions and military service. Not only is "The Brit" hacking and altering records for him, his military service and his father's is Classified Information.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: The Voice, who takes care of contacting and brokering deals with Christian's clients. She turns out to be exactly the trope.
  • What the Hell Are You?:
    • Dana—after entering Wolff's home and finding loads of money, gold, and weapons—asks him this when he finds her there.
    • And Medina to King after King reveals how he really is able to solve so many cases.

"I guarantee you, if we let the world set expectations for our children, they'll start low, and they'll stay there. Maybe your son's capable of much more than we know. And maybe, just maybe, he doesn't understand how to tell us. Or we haven't yet learned how to listen."

Video Example(s):


The Accountant

Christian saves Dana from a couple of goons who try and kidnap her.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / DamselInDistress

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