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The Ending Of The Accountant Explained

Ben Affleck's turn as certified public accountant and hitman Christian Wolff in 2016's "The Accountant" came in the middle of the movie star's return to form in the 2010s. After Affleck established himself as a major Hollywood director with "The Town" and "Argo," he turned toward blockbuster action and thriller movies, starring in "Gone Girl" in 2014 and "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" in 2016 before working with director Gavin O'Connor on "The Accountant."

"The Accountant" follows Christian, a highly intelligent accountant with autism who often works for criminal organizations to uncover financial deception. When Christian attempts to audit a major firm called Living Robotics, the company's CFO dies mysteriously. Meanwhile, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network director Ray King (J.K. Simmons) is attempting to track him down for various crimes, including murder. As Ray and Treasury data analyst Marybeth Medina (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) close in, Christian and Living Robotics junior accountant Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick) are attacked by assassins and learn that Living Robotics CEO Lamar Blackburn (John Lithgow) was the man behind $61 million of embezzled funds. Here is a breakdown of the ending.

Christian Wolff's choice whether or not to be a victim

At the start of "The Accountant," Christian Wolff's parents bring a young Christian and his brother to visit Harbor Neuroscience, where a neuroscientist offers to have Christian stay at his facility for the summer and work with him on living something resembling a normal life with his sensory processing disorder. Christian's father (Robert C. Treveiler) refuses the offer and instead opts to expose Christian to more sensory stimulation and teach his sons martial arts so that they will be able to defend themselves. Audiences see how this has affected Christian as an adult; he is highly organized and meticulous and listens to earsplitting rock music to help cope with potential sensory overload.

In a flashback, Christian's father tells him and his brother, Braxton (Jon Bernthal) what he calls one of life's oldest choices: "Choosing to be a victim or choosing not to." He effuses about the importance of family loyalty before imploring his sons to fight Christian's bullies. "The Accountant" carries this underlying theme throughout the movie: Christian continually chooses not to be a victim in his secret work exposing criminals when they violate his "moral code," as Ray puts it, and defends people like his accounting clients and Dana so that the cruel world he associates himself with doesn't make them victims either.

Who is the woman on the phone?

While Christian and his family are visiting Harbor Neuroscience, he briefly meets a young girl who communicates nonverbally. She helps him complete a puzzle of boxer Muhammad Ali. Audiences don't meet this character again until the end of the movie — after a 30-year time jump.

As an adult, Christian communicates over the phone with a woman who speaks with a robotic-sounding voice. They work together finding Christian accounting clients — both non-criminal and less-than-legal — and she helps Christian assume various identities. After Ray encounters Christian at the Gambino crime family headquarters, he begins receiving calls from a woman who tells him she works for the Accountant. Ray later reveals that the Accountant and the woman on the phone have sent him info on every case he's solved in his career.

The final scene of "The Accountant" mirrors its first: Two parents meet with a psychologist at Harbor Neuroscience, and their son runs off and meets Justine (Alison Wright), the neuroscientist's adult daughter. Justine communicates nonverbally through a computer that sounds exactly like the woman on the phone's voice, and a framed Muhammad Ali puzzle on the wall and a photo of her and Christian as children confirm that this is the same person who Christian met as a boy.

What does The Accountant say about autism?

Christian Wolff's diagnosis with a form of autism is at the center of "The Accountant." As an adult, Christian proves incredibly intelligent in his accounting work and is a highly skilled martial artist and marksman, but as methodical and obsessive as he was as a child, he insists to Dana that he feels compelled to finish his work auditing Living Robotics even after hitmen attack them.

"The Accountant" also reveals that Justine is in cahoots with Christian from her home at Harbor Neuroscience, communicating with him via a highly powerful computer that a software engineer visitor describes as sophisticated enough to hack the Pentagon. Her work with Christian helps fund Harbor Neuroscience, which seems to be thriving by the end of the movie.

"The Accountant" is not a feel-good movie, but it does show support for not placing low expectations on children on the autism spectrum. In one of the film's final scenes, the scientist at Harbor Neuroscience explains to the parents of a child with autism that they shouldn't place low expectations on their nonverbal son and that he could just not know how to communicate effectively. The next shot shows the son encountering Justine and her digitally powered speaking device, implying he could communicate the same way Justine learned to.

Does The Accountant set up a potential franchise?

The ending of "The Accountant" shows a thriving Harbor Neuroscience. Audiences learn through the investigation into Christian Wolff that he donates money to the institute, and the movie's last scene confirms that he works alongside Justine. As the parents consider having their son stay at the facility, audiences can see that its population has grown significantly since Christian's childhood, with dozens of children populating Harbor Neuroscience's grounds. With Christian, Dana, and Braxton all alive at the film's end, it's not impossible these characters could return in a sequel. In fact, director Gavin O'Connor confirmed that a sequel was greenlit in September 2021 during an interview with CinemaBlend.

O'Connor actually said that he wants to make two more "Accountant" movies and that future films will feature Braxton more significantly than the original. "So there'll be more screen time for Bernthal in the second one. And then the third movie's going to be, I call it, 'Rain Man on steroids,'" O'Connor told CinemaBlend. "The third movie is going to be the two brothers, this odd couple. The third one is going [to] be a buddy picture."

Given that it appears Marybeth takes over Ray's role at the Treasury Department, any future criminal accounting adventures Christian Wolff takes part in could be referred back to the government, creating a wide sandbox for O'Connor, Ben Affleck, and Jon Bernthal to play with for a sequel to "The Accountant."