Thursday, 3 November 2016

The Accountant: Film Review

The Accountant: Film Review

Cast: Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, John Lithgow, Jon Bernthal, JK Simmons
Director: Gavin O'Connor

In an attempt to make accountants seem like more than just numbers guys, director Gavin O'Connor's movie with a dour faced Ben Affleck as the titular accountant aims for thrills, but on most occasions misses.

Affleck is Christian Wolff the accountant, a maths genius who is afflicted with high-functioning autism and whose social interactions are awkward at best. Called into a robotics company to try and work out where $70 million has gone AWOL, Christian solves the case overnight but his resolution causes a chain of events to unfold.

With a series of killers on his back and the Treasury Department closing in on Wolff after his links to cleaning dodgy books, Wolff's on the back foot - and with a nerdy fellow accountant from the robotics company in tow (Kendrick in usual preppy and perky mode), the chase is on.

Skipping some of the emotional beats needed to make this land proves fatal for The Accountant, which in parts feels perfunctory, drab and dour.

While a frowny Affleck manages to imbue Wolff with the social awkwardness needed, which allows for some comic interludes between him and Kendrick's Dayna, he's pretty much rendered relatively mute. And outside of action sequences, Affleck's got little to do except revel in the vulnerability and physicality- though admittedly, he does it well.

If anything's wrong with The Accountant, it's more a case of the threads not quite tying as tightly together as perhaps they should without characters indulging in serious amounts of exposition to help you through. Worst offender is JK Simmons' Treasury head, who's (cliche alert) determined to crack Wolff's identity before he retires - in one scene alone, he literally espouses the whole story in an attempt to get people up to speed. Thankfully, he's such a great actor that he just manages to lift the material higher than it deserves.

While there's something to be said for having an autism heavy hero on the screen (according to one character 1 in 68 US kids suffer) and there's a feeling that this is the launch of a Littlest Hobo style assassin franchise, The Accountant never quite fires on all cylinders as it trudges through its 2 hour run time, thanks largely to flashbacks that jolt proceedings and disparate multi-threads that aren't particularly engaging or original.

The final fight sequence is precise in its execution and brings a punch that's been lacking, but it's hard to fully invest in proceedings as they play out prior to this point, with some of the threads feeling not quite as well sketched out as they could be.

While relatively solid overall, thanks mainly to Affleck's performance, The Accountant ultimately and unfortunately doesn't quite add up.


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