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The Accountant
Genre Thriller
 
Review:

As a movie title, The Accountant conjures up images of office paper, photocopiers, spreadsheets and responsible haircuts. Luckily the movie poster went for something less sensible: Ben Affleck kitted out like he was going to audit an "entrepreneur" in the slums of Rio. The stark contrast creates a series of nagging questions and presents much more promise than a Wednesday in the life of Ben Affleck as a self-employed accountant. The Accountant echoes the equally irritating movie title, The Informant!, which starred his old buddy, Matt Damon. Thankfully it's not some left field sequel, but rather a film that seems to be aiming for a blend of The Professional and A Beautiful Mind.

We track the story of Christian Wolff, a mathematics genius and highly skilled marksman, who gets caught up in the affairs of a robotics company after auditing their books. The concept has weight and The Accountant has style, but the story is convoluted, the storytelling is muddled and the execution is off-balance. The action thriller is trying to do too much and feels scattershot, diminishing the power of some otherwise great moments. It's the sort of movie that could become a treasure trove for spoof film-makers with scenes that border on the ridiculous and a story that keeps getting more and more ludicrous.

Affleck plays a man with autism and while convincing as an elite soldier, the odd smirk throws us. It's a committed performance, probably in the build up to or shortly after playing Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, based on his physique. Despite the odd bemused look, it's a captivating oddball performance that helps string the film together.

It's as if director Gavin O'Connor is trying to adapt a 'string theory' board. The action thriller moves excitedly from one crazy pin to another, struggling to find its balance but eager to please with its daredevil exploits. We're given snippets from Wolff's childhood, recalling his tough upbringing, throwing in evidence of a mysterious and bloody massacre as we try to piece his story together, much like the FBI investigation in the backdrop. The filmmakers have married Wolff's two worlds together like movies colliding, throw in a third film from the FBI's point-of-view and even position The Accountant as an autism awareness film.

This choppy and swirling mix of amusing drama, thrilling suspense, autism infotainment and pensive detective work keeps you mildly entertained as you try to connect the dots. While it brims with confidence, this film just doesn't have the skeleton to hold it all together. It's great to see Anna Kendrick, John Lithgow and J.K. Simmons throwing their abilities into the mix, but despite the quality of the cast, it never reaches cruising speed. Kendrick recalls her role in the equally imbalanced Mr. Right, we try to forget 3rd Rock from the Sun while Simmons makes you want to see him play a film noir detective. The ultra-violent action and rising body count heightens the suspense and will appease action junkies, but the dramatic element of The Accountant is incredulous and hesitant.

The Accountant has some terrific moments and keeps you watching through its twists-and-turns, but this is a bendy, bloody and rocky road that gets by with a bit of flair and the best of intentions. If you switch off completely, you'll have a good time watching Affleck do his thing, otherwise this film may make you want to stick to watching films Affleck directs.

The bottom line: Riddled

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