Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, JK Simmons, Jeffrey Tambor, John Lithgow, Jean Smart
A number of people may love the espionage thriller The Accountant; that number doesn’t include me.
In fact, it’d be zero stars, if not for the acting and actions sequences. How does Hollywood turn out something this stupid and offensive?
Thrillers like this are all about the plot. Great acting – and this flawed Accountant has it – can add a lot. However, a hideously damaged premise and some fairly noticeable plot holes are major subtractions.
Truthfully, the characters must’ve been interesting for the actors, especially Affleck, who portrays a mentally handicapped mathematical savant. I sure wish the actors had first read the script to assess its plausibility and its horrible biases. Because if they had any sense of judgment, they’d have avoided this like actors avoid math classes.
And even the chilly cinematography, special effects, and tight pacing cannot rescue The Accountant.
Affleck plays Christian Wolf. (Let’s try not to read too much symbolism into that name, shall we?) Christian is a math genius whose personality sits somewhere on the autism scale: cold, methodical, inscrutable, shunning most human contact. Apparently, this also makes him immoral – a perfect person to moonlight as a hired assassin. A mysterious woman calls Christian in his weapons-loaded Airstream and gives him assignments.
Throughout, I was so offended by this that it was difficult to enjoy the rest of the film. Not that there was much there to revel in.
During the day, Christian’s mathematical super-brain is hired out to solve problems. That is why a tech firm calls him in to find $70 million in missing cash. Furthermore, they assign assistant Dana Cummings (Kendrick, replete with a Bond girl name…) She sort of falls in love with this handicapped man.
The government (Simmons) is also watching Christian, assuming he is the mysterious Accountant, the hired assassin responsible for other killings.
And then some baddies from Christian’s past comes after him and Dana. Chase scenes! Confused damsel in distress! Multiple threads of confusion! Could something tie it all together? Yes, and in a better film, it’d be done more tightly and with much more sensitivity!
There are some supposedly cute jokes of Dana Cummings (I cannot excuse that last name) trying to be affectionate or flirty with Christian Wolf. (Ugh, that name, too!) However, most of these jokey moments play into the primary hatefulness of the premise – Christian’s mental state.
If autism and Asperger’s made even one person a murderer, I’m sure a third of American voters might choose to export the whole population, or build a wall around them.
When the film explain’s Christian’s murderous tendencies, it’s completely brainless! It’s like a bad Brian DePalma, replete with inexcusable campiness.
Great photography and fantastic action sequences are thrown into the equation. Affleck, Kendrick, and others really commit to their roles. But the primary number that makes up The Accountant isn’t worth adding to.