What Is Ben Affleck Doing With the Stick in the Accountant?

The Accountant (2016), starring Ben Affleck and Anna Kendrick, is an intense suspense thriller with a psychological angle that analyzes the problem of autism through Christian Wolff, an autistic accountant who works for some of the world’s most heinous criminals.

There’s a scene in the movie in which “The Accountant” turns on the music, then a yellow flashlight, and massages his leg using a wooden stick till the timer expires. It has left fans wondering what Christian Wolff was trying to do. 

So what did it possibly mean? Was it a kind of therapy for him? Let us find out.

Why Is Ben Affleck Massaging His Shin in the Accountant?

Ben Affleck is seen using a rolling pin on his shin in The Accountant. He is practicing Shin Conditioning, a way of compressing the shin bone, making it an excellent method for increasing bone density without engaging in any form of physical combat. It is a common practice among people who train to a competitive level in Muay Thai and similar martial art forms. 

Habitually applying a rolling pin up and down the shin helps damage the nerves along the surface of the bone, thus freeing you up to kick harder without causing incredible agony.

Christian Wolff used Shin Conditioning as a self-disciplined training to:

  • Make his shins stronger and resistant to pain during fights.
  • To train him to remain calm in stressful situations.

What Was the Purpose Behind the Loud Music and Flashing Lights?

At the beginning of the movie, his father says to the therapist that if his son is vulnerable to loud noises and bright lights (irritants), he needs more of it and not less to cope with them since the world is not a controlled environment. So, Christian uses flashing lights and loud music while training his shins as a form of resistance training to get him out of his comfort zone.

Since the accountant is autistic, his father put him in an overstimulated place with flashing lights and loud music. He then taught him how to deal with overstimulation by doing shin conditioning and using the nursery rhyme muttering. He does so to make his son tolerate more than usual because he realizes that his autistic son would suffer bullying.

On the counter, this technique could be calming to the accountant because it essentially serves as an effective method to interrupt an overstimulated state of anxiety or stress, with the loud music serving as an auditory interrupt, the flashing lights as a visual interrupt, and rolling his shins as a physical interrupt. 

The training ultimately proves fruitful during the final face-off in the movie, where all those irritants are combined (noises, lights, contact fighting). It is why The Accountant is a balanced depiction of an autistic hero without getting him exploited on account of his condition.