Reel Scenes: THE ACCOUNTANT

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theaccountant470
drop cap do you like the Bourne Supremacy and The Big Bang Theory? Then you will like “The Accountant” with Ben Affleck. It is not a comedy, but I was sometimes the only one laughing in the theater, but I am a strange duck, anyway.

But I have more understanding of autism then the guy on the street. The movie was like Ben Affleck, unplugged, lacking affect, but being an extremely effective human being with accounting tasks. I especially loved the movie because there is a positive trend in society to depict people with disabilities in a more positive light.

Ben does a great job playing an adult with autism and I think whoever did the screenplay had family experiences with this particular medical condition. If you have not worked in the field, autism is a neurological condition characterized by impaired social interaction, difficulties in communication and often restricted or repetitive behaviors according to the wise guys of Wikipedia. It also has a wide spectrum, from mild to severe. I have nephew with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, a mild form, and my daughter works for the Office of Education with adults with severe problems. I also worked with students with Asperger’s, a high functioning type of autism, at a junior high school.

The movie is very exciting, both in its violence, and in the flashback sequences that attempt to explain how Ben became the very complex, yet simple genius of an accountant working for some very bad clientele (terrorists, cartels, corrupt corporations, etc.) . Yes he is a numbers cruncher, but was trained by his military father, to not be crunched or bullied by anyone. His personality reflects qualities of loyalty, caring, rigidity and a commitment to completion of tasks. These are fine qualities in most employees but can be a problem when you are an accountant and you uncover a conspiracy.

Individuals with autism, often miss pieces of puzzles in their mental and social functioning. This can lead to anger, confusion, frustration and conflict. It is even more problematic when you can’t communicate your needs, feelings or problems to others, hence the social difficulties. In the beginning of the movie, there was a puzzle scene that for me was fantastic as a metaphor for autistic angst. When we look at a puzzle, we see one picture, where as an individual with autism, sees something totally different.

The movie had the familiar theme of the skilled hero rescuing and protecting the weak female from the hired guns of John Lithgow, the owner of a bioengineering company that makes cutting edge prosthetics. There is a great twist in the end as the couple is pursued by their persecutors, and it was a great way to connect the past and the present. The film was very family oriented in demonstrating the protectiveness of children and the disabled by parents and siblings, but sometimes to a fault.

Ben also had an Airstream trailer which is one my favorite recreational vehicles, even though I have never used one. They are an example of amazing engineering, just as are many disabled folks. It was a good metaphor for something that is very well put together, but often in the flight mode, which is manifested in social withdrawal. This may not make sense, but see the movie and you will understand, even if you don’t get my beautiful mind, you may find it a beautiful movie.