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The Accountant Review: Ben Affleck's Numbers Don't Add Up

By Julian Roman — October 13th, 2016

Ben Affleck's turn as a gun-toting CPA is painfully boring in parts. The Accountant has a labyrinthine plot with reveals that are kind of obvious. Bad guys get shredded like confetti, but it takes a whole lot of time before the action kicks in. Anna Kendrick is relegated to the bench for much of this film. I get the feeling she was just collecting a paycheck here. The Accountant might have looked liked a great idea on the studio ledger, but the numbers simply don't add up.

Affleck stars as Christian Wolff, an accountant with many secrets. The film jumps back and forth in time to explain his upbringing. Severely autistic as a child, his military brass father believed that strength and defense were the only way to deal with his condition. As an adult, his activities have come upon the radar of a career treasury officer (J.K. Simmons). He enlists a young upstart (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) to find the accountant's true identity. Worlds converge violently when the accountant's low-risk consultant job stirs up an unexpected hornets nest. Endangering an innocent colleague (Anna Kendrick) and bringing a dark past back to light.

I am always annoyed by films with unnecessary build-ups. The Accountant has a few twists. One of them is totally apparent within minutes of the open. Then we have to sit through two hours of film to get to a point the audience sniffed out from go. It deadens the weight of the climax. Also, some characters vanish for huge stretches. One of them is Anna Kendrick. Her role as the damsel in distress is minimal. That's a letdown. Kendrick needed to be a bigger part of this story.

Ben Affleck pulls off the bullets and beat downs, but I didn't quite buy the autism angle. Some scenes were believable and humorous, while others were a stretch. The performance feels disjointed. Autism can't be turned off. Yes, this is just a movie, but they needed to make the character more uniform in this regard. The Accountant does make a solid effort to promote an understanding of autism in children. I'm not sure this was the best venue for that message, but Director Gavin O'Connor gets a golf clap for trying.

The Accountant had promise as a premise. The filmmakers just bit off too much story to chew. They could have cut a few characters, spread the action evenly, and shortened the runtime for a more concise, entertaining experience. As it stands, the best bits don't warrant the price the admission.

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