‘Who is Christian Wolff?’: Our Review of 2016’s The Accountant (Spoilers Ahead)

There is, at the expense of modifying the immortal John Donne quote, reason enough to believe that no man is an island, but part of a continent.

But, much in the vein of islands and continents, there are all sorts of people who view men in all sorts of ways.

Islands and continents might be colonies and dominions to be acquired and defended; men may be accountants, brothers, ‘problem(s)’ and much more.

The cast of director Gavin O’Connor’s 2016 feature film, The Accountant, view Ben Affleck’s assassin/accountant, Christian Wolff as an island.

An island who may well want to be a continent.


(from left to right) Stars Anna Kendrick and Ben Affleck and director Gavin O’Connor on the set of their 2016 feature film, The Accountant (Moviepilot.de Photo and Caption)

That being said, director O’Connor makes the point, among others, that appearances are deliberately deceptive to hide multifacetedness (à la Christian Wolff naming his accounting practice ZZZ Accounting to prevent people from investigating his money transfers).

Spinning off of that, there is also the idea that controlling that perception of plainness is power (the several camera references in this film, such as, the reference to Wolff’s yard in ‘the whole backyard’s got eyes [camera surveillance]’ and  Brax’s instruction to his henchmen, ‘I’ve got the cameras. Go join your friends’).

In line with director O’Connor’s family-set films, there are parents should raise their children rough to prepare them for the future (this is seen in Anna Kendrick’s Dana’s upbringing reference in, ‘[a career in] art doesn’t pay the mortgage, young lady’ and Seth Lee and Jake Presley’s younger Christian and Brax, respectively, being forcibly trained in martial arts by their father’s colleague).

Separately, and in the vein of 1996’s Courage Under Fire, is the idea that military families may never move beyond their affiliation with the military (as seen by Mary Kraft’s Mrs Wolff saying, ‘my husband’s in the army, which means we all are’ and Robert C Treveiller’s Mr Wolff and Christian visiting Mrs Wolff’s funeral in military uniform).


(from left to right) Star Jon Bernthal and director Gavin O’Connor on the set of 2016’s The Accountant (Collider.com Photo and Caption)

The above being said – and with the emphasis on Cynthia Addai-Robinson’s Marybeth hunting for Christian due to her criminal record looming over her – the film emphasises that people, though only in Christian and Marybeth’s case, are more than they seem.

Vis-à-vis the spun-off idea of perception being power, John Lithgow’s Lamar Black shouts off of Christian’s request to finish his work with, ‘my friend was poisoned enough by them to take his own life’ and alludes to his work making people ‘whole’ when faced with Christian and Brax’s reconciliation. Lamar attempts to keep Christian’s perception of his work and life intact.

Tough parenting pays off, only somewhat, in this film. Christian’s training pays off in his fight against Lamar and the assassins. Dana’s forced accountancy education eventually puts her in harm’s way. The children at Harbor Neuroscience, where Christian would otherwise have gone with Jason Davis’ neuroscientist, grow up peacefully.

The Accountant

(centre-right and right) Director Gavin O’Connor and star Ben Affleck on the set of their 2016 feature film, The Accountant (Collider.com Photo and Caption)

Very simplistically, director Gavin O’Connor’s 2916 feature film, The Accountant, takes the ideas implied above and, often, tells them to you via character backstory, as opposed to just showing them to you. Expect a quantity of sitting down and talking about on-screen and off-screen life.

That being said, 2016’s The Accountant is great for its electronic score, after the Ravenite Social Club track and its visible on-screen action. Fans of director Gavin O’Connor’s work will find something welcome in this film as will newcomers to his filmography.


(from left to right) Director Gavin O’Connor and star Ben Affleck at an event for 2016’s The Accountant (LATimes.com Photo)

Director Gavin O’Connor’s Trademarks in 2016’s The Accountant:

  1. Family-driven films: Much like 2008’s Pride and Glory or 2011’s Warrior, the family unit is important to the confrontations in both of the above and 2016’s The Accountant.
  2. Brother-on-brother conflict: Drawing a parallel between this and 2011’s Warrior, 2016’s The Accountant comes down to brothers fighting each other.
  3. Difficult father figures: Much like Coach Kelleher in 2004’s Miracle, the trials faced by Christian and Brax suffer the training, but are better off for it, imposed by their father.

(Whilst the opinions and observations cited above are, unless stated otherwise, the author’s own, the following sources were used for information: AMNY.com, BrainyQuote.com, ComingSoon.net, GQ.com, HuffingtonPost.com, IMDb.com, LRMOnline.com, SCPR.org, ScreenRant.com, WarnerBros.com)

The Reverse-Screenwriters’ Club (Spoilers Ensue):

Plot: an accountant investigates the records of a robotics company whose executives are being mysteriously assassinated.

Prologue: Ray King follows an assassin through a mob hideout.

Act 1: The neurologist decides to ask Christian’s parents the chance to train their son; Christian’s parents decide to refuse to let him go.

Act 2: Christian decides to advise the couple on their finances; Christian decides to clue them in on the tax cut.

Act 3: Christian decides to go shooting at the couples’ farm; Christian decides to return to his trailer.

Act 4: Christian decides to meet the Living Robotics team; Christian decides to meet Lamar.

Act 5: Christian decides to return to Living Robotics; Christian decides to meet Dana.

Act 6: Christian decides to start work on their accounting records; Christian decides to receive Dana in the morning.

Act 7: Christian decides to confront Lamar over his discarded work; Christian decides to return home.

Act 8: Christian decides to visit the couple’s farm for shooting; Christian decides to save them from the assassins.

Act 9: Christian decides to track down Dana; Christian decides to save her from the assassins.

Act 10: Christian and Dana decide to escape to the trailer; Christian and Dana decide to flee to the hotel.

Act 11: Christian and Dana decide to evaluate the case; Christian decides to track down Brax the assassin.

Act 12: Christian decides to pursue Brax to his next target; Christian decides to return to the hotel.

Act 13: Christian decides to raid Lamar’s mansion; Christian decides to scale the walls.

Act 14: Christian decides to confront the soldiers in the house; Christian decides to confront Brax.

Act 15: Christian decides to reconcile his differences with Brax; Christian decides to kill Lamar.

Epilogue: Dana receives the Jackson Pollock painting from Christian; Christian travels on through the country.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s