In this cinematic era of ubiquitous superheroes, there’s something genuinely intriguing about offering a dramatic protagonist whose job is more usually associated with sedate desk-bound activity, and it’s even more unusual to see such a transparent attempt to provide us with cinema’s first openly autistic action hero. While the end product isn’t quite as subversive and original as all this suggests, and its treatment of autism as a condition is well-intentioned but a little bizarre, it’s still an impressively entertaining yet nuanced thriller that embraces its silliness with an endearing sense of humour and fun.

The director Gavin O’Connor (whose mixed CV includes the fantastic Warrior) absolutely nails the tone throughout – it’s a film that’s aware of its own absurdity as a clichéd action movie but offsets this by not taking itself too seriously. There’s something endearingly sweet about presenting autism as something that can sometimes be considered a mutant superpower, even though that’s obviously an unhelpful fantasy for many people on the spectrum. When taken seriously, it’s in many ways a problematic film, but when accepted as the harmless popcorn fluff it very clearly presents itself as it’s very hard not to be taken in by its increasing absurdities.

Yes, this really is an action thriller based on accountancy7
Turns out that's kind of a great premise when it's done with its tongue in its cheek9
Mainly thanks to Gavin O'Connor's careful marshalling of the film's tone9
Treating autism as a superpower is kind of cool but also kind of awkward7
Otherwise this is the usual setup of action movie clichés6
Bechdel Test passes
  • Features more than one named female character
  • The female characters talk to each other
Bechdel Test failures
  • They only talk about men
8Overall Score

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