FILM REVIEW - THE ACCOUNTANT
Running Length: 128 minutes
Release Date: 4th November 2016
Directed by: Gavin O’Connor
Cast: Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons, Jon Bernthal
Written by: Bill Dubuque
Director of Cinematography: Seamus McGarvey
``Double entry bookkeeping and hollow-point exit wounds``
Ben Affleck hangs up his Bat boots for a bit in director Gavin O’Connor‘s (Warrior, Jane Got a Gun) intriguing but problematic take on the bog standard action thriller.
Christian Wolff (one of many mathematic aliases used by Affleck’s character) is a high-functioning autistic with a preternatural aptitude for numbers. From behind a low-key shopfront in a suburban mall, Wolff has uncooked the books of crime cartels worldwide and has recovered billions of black money dollars for some of the most dangerous criminals on the planet. He is tasked with uncovering a leak at John Lithgow’s robotic prosthetics firm, but an audit uncovers more than misappropriated millions. Junior accountant Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick) finds herself in the line of fire after bringing financial irregularities to Wolff’s attention, and he uses his, er, particular set of skills to ensure that she doesn’t become collateral damage.
At best the “super-powered autistic” trope is questionable; at worst it’s downright offensive. But disability insensitivity notwithstanding, Wolff is a fascinating character and Affleck’s portrayal is nicely measured and understated. Pity then that The Accountant suffers from an overabundance of peripheral characters, some we’d like to see more of (the always reliable J.K. Simmons) and others we spend far too much time with (Cynthia Addai-Robinson and a truly awful Jon Bernthal).
The Accountant is a curious mix of double entry bookkeeping and hollow-point exit wounds. Bill Dubuque‘s screenplay does at least try to do something original with a hackneyed genre, and to be fair he depicts Wolff in moderately progressive tones (“Hollywood progressive” at any rate). It is an intriguing premise and the set-up is well handled, but the wheels on this cart soon start to wobble and by the time it’s reached a tedious “shoot everything” finale, the axles are grinding on concrete.