The Accountant: Review

Directed by: Gavin O’ConnorStarring: Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, Jon Bernthal, Cynthia Addai-RobinsonRelease date: November 4thRunning time: 128 minutesThe Accountant tries to do a lot of things. It wraps an action film and a conspiracy thriller up with a romantic comedy and a family drama over the course of 120 minutes, but it never does any of these things particularly well. When the pace ratchets up and gunfire lights up the screen, however, The Accountant makes for an acceptable, if dumb, action flick.Inspired by the Taken cliché, wherein an otherwise mundane man harbours a secret ability to murder others with great efficiency, we follow the trials of Christian Wolfe (Affleck), a freelance accountant who ‘uncooks’ the books of corrupt individuals and organisations. The Treasury Department has begun to close in on his scams just as he takes on a suspicious contract from a robotics company, and high-stakes action summarily follows.Wolfe has a form of autism, allowing Affleck to put in a flat performance. While Anna Kendrick brings some life to love-interest Dana, and J.K. Simmons is charming as an old treasury agent, Affleck’s performance merely flails in the general direction of autism, leaving the film with a gormless, stone-faced protagonist.The plot, though it flirts with a grim conspiracy thriller angle early on, soon loses control of its own direction. When you stop to consider the limits and abilities of Wolfe’s autism, the feats he achieves in the movie’s action sequences simply make no sense. The Accountant is a dumb film, and while that isn’t always a bad thing, its charms fail to make up for its glaring flaws.Nevertheless, there are some wry, well-timed jokes throughout, where the film is able to bask in its own inanity to some success. Jon Bernthal delivers a menacing performance as one of the main antagonists, yet some unnecessary plot twists later on in the film manage to dull his overall character.Once the film settles on “action film” as its genre – about halfway through – the film begins to pick up. The action is sharp and violent, and looks and sounds great. This momentum doesn’t last, however, as the final act slows things to a crawl with a load of bloated exposition. While the final shootout is well-directed and exciting, the variety of strange turns the plot takes in its final 20 minutes make for a sloppy and confusing finish.In a nutshell – The Accountant tries to piece together too many genres to make a good film of its own. It’s a dumb action film, and even among its own kind, there are plenty of superior options.