Chris Wolff (Ben Affleck), having been diagnosed with autism when he was a child, has channelled his precision into a lucrative career as an accountant, “uncooking” the books for criminals and large firms to discover who has been stealing from them. When the Treasury Department takes an interest in Wolff, who has been spotted with numerous criminals around the world, and a hitman begins to close in on him, the web of secrecy that Wolff has built around himself begins to fall apart.
The Accountant is a fun but rather complicated thriller, which seems to take inspiration from the types of characters that we have seen before in films such as Rain Man.
Ben Affleck is the actor currently playing Batman, the Caped Crusader, and for those of us who have seen Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice – despite our feelings on the film itself, either way – know that Affleck can bring a stoic, measured and controlled character to the screen, which is exactly what he has dome with Chris Wolff in The Accountant. There is nothing particularly wrong with the performance, but there is very little given to the audience to make us root for this socially awkward genius. Anna Kendrick obviously has fun with her character – Dana Cummings – the woman who uncovers the wrongdoing that Wolff is brought in to investigate in a large company. While Kendrick is good in the role, she is rather underused, and does not have a lot to do. Jon Bernthal brings the scary as a villainous and determined hitman, J.K. Simmons tries to give Chris Wolff some humanity through his recollections of his interactions with him, but his character becomes little more than a vehicle for exposition. The rest of the cast features John Lithgow, Jeffrey Tambor and Cynthia Addai-Robinson.
Screenwriter Bill Dubuque’s previous screenplay was the rather twee and predictable Robert Downey Jr vehicle, The Judge, and this time it seems Dubuque was determined to steer clear of the twee. Focusing on a character with autism, however, immediately throws up problems, as it is strongly implied that the character was borderline abused by his father to make him a ruthless killer, assassin and mathematician. Elsewhere, the film begins to get tangled in knots as plotholes abound and attempts are made to fill them in. AS well as this, man strong actors are underused in the film, and even become little more than vehicles for exposition.
As director Gavin Connor tries his best to make The Accountant make sense, and there are times when this overly complicated thriller is fun, if a little silly. The film is well paced, but there are so many times when the film falls apart under the weight of its own ambition. Still, the set pieces are a lot of fun to watch, and Kendrick and Affleck work well together.
In all, The Accountant is a fun, if silly, thriller that is overly complicated and tries to use dialogue to untangle the web that it weaves. As well as this there are issues with the characterisations in the film, and the choices made in the way that the story is told. There is fun to be had with The Accountant, once you don’t think about it too deeply.