Saturday, October 15, 2016

Movie Review: The Accountant

Ben Affleck stars as autistic accountant Christian Wolff who uncooks the books for nefarious organizations like drug cartels and terrorist organizations. The story uses flashbacks to inform the viewer of Wolff's training as he turns from a troubled youth into an emotionless killing machine. Affleck is decent as the hyper-focused accountant with a strict routine and a unique handling of firearms. The plot felt convoluted at times and took a major expository scene at the start of the last third to finally clear up the confusion.

Wolff takes on a legitimate robotics client when young accountant Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick) discovers discrepancies in the financials. Lamar Black (John Lithgow) hires the accountant to find out if his best friend is stealing from him. The missing money leads to the involvement of another nefarious killer Brax (Jon Bernthal). The movie contains humor and a suitable amount of action though it feels like it cut short what could have been spectacular sequences and just made a moderate thriller.

One subplot that felt underutilized and incongruous with the rest of the movie was the treasury department's investigation under the director Ray King (J.K. Simmons) and analyst Marybeth Medina (Cynthia Addai-Robinson). While both their performances were enjoyable, their pursuit of the accountant lacks any tension and leads to nothing only taking up time and serving as an easy way to explain some back story. The movie had potential and as it started to ramp up the action, it stalled itself with this misguided investigation.

There are other detours like a short performance from Jeffrey Tambor as an older accountant Francis Silverberg who trains Affleck's Wolff on underworld connections. Some telegraphed plot twists cheat action fans out of an action-packed finale and try to bring drama to the stone-cold killer that doesn't seem to fit and ends the film with a whimper.

Ben Affleck is just killing time until his next Batman paycheck and it looks like he'll pack in another movie in Live By Night before he dons The Dark Knight mask in Justice League. Movies like this can be enjoyable but the action here had potential that it didn't quite live up to with only a few sequences and nothing entirely clever or new that left me shocked or impressed. I'd be curious to see if it has decent success if the filmmakers will try to push for another installment as the background was set and the character could be used for a limitless amount of stories in the future. 

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