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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 he established himself as a major Hollywood director with "The Town" and "Argo," Affleck 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. However, 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 Christian 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. 

With the law on one side and killers on the other, Christian is forced to use his very special skills to protect himself and Dana. By the time the credits roll, "The Accountant" delivers on the high-thrills action, along with plenty of family drama, discussions about autism, and set-up for more stories to come. If you want to dive deeper into what happens in the final moments of the movie, let's break down the ending of "The Accountant."

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 both 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 (the grown-up version of whom is played by 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. Then, after Ray King 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. In other words, as we get deeper and deeper into the movie, we're wondering more and more about this lady on the phone.

First-time viewers get their answer to the mystery in the movie's last act. 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 and the woman who's been assisting him in his antihero adventures.

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 put 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, thanks to Christian Wolff's donations to the institute. On top of that, Christian and Braxton are both alive at the end of the film, leading many people to wonder if a sequel might be on the way. Well, in September 2021, director Gavin O'Connor confirmed another movie was in the pipeline, with further confirmation on the movie coming in 2024.

With Amazon MGM Studios producing, Ben Affleck and Jon Bernthall are reprising their roles as the Wolff brothers in the upcoming sequel, alongside J.K. Simmons as Ray King and Cynthia Addai-Robinson as Marybeth Medina. The plot of part two will kick off with Marybeth's old boss getting assassinated, causing her to call up the Wolff brothers. As the official plot synopsis explains, things get even more dangerous when "the trio draw the attention of some of the most ruthless killers alive — all intent on putting a stop to their search."

Better still, chances are good "The Accountant" will become a trilogy. Back in 2021, Gavin O'Connor told CinemaBlend that the sequel will give Bernthal's Braxton more screen time. He then explained the third movie would be "'Rain Man on steroids," elaborating, "The third movie is going to be the two brothers, this odd couple. The third is going [to] be a buddy picture."