In his first on-screen role since the disaster that was Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Ben Affleck plays a mathematics savant in deep do-do with deadly criminals.
The Accountant tells the violent story of a high-functioning autistic maths genius. As a child it was clear to everyone that Christian Wolff wasn’t like other kids. He had more in common with Einstein than he did with his classmates. His penchant for complex mathematics left people in awe but no more willing to befriend the youngster.
Now an adult (Ben Affleck) Wolff is a highly successful financial consultant. He still has an affinity for numbers rather than people but he’s happy. Behind his unremarkably humdrum life Wolff hides his real occupation. In reality he is the accountant for some of the most dangerous criminals on the planet helping them cook their books to avoid prosecution.
When treasury agent Ray King (J.K. Simmons) starts to dissect Wolff’s operations, it doesn’t take long before the body counts start to rise. After all Wolff’s clients aren’t exactly reasonable.
The Accountant is an oxymoron. It’s compelling, yet tiresome. Action-fuelled, yet flaccid. The sign of mediocre movie is when you become acutely aware of how long the movie is. It takes you out of the moment leaving you with all the patience of an overworked teacher at a parent’s evening. For a movie about a man obsessed with inconsistencies The Accountant is riddled with them.
It’s a crying shame because it starts off so well but then quickly loses momentum. The ending is rushed to say the least. The delivery is slapdash, so much so that the style fails to tie in with the rest of the movie.
Ben Affleck brings the same adrenaline he bought to his role in Gone Girl. To play someone with such afflictions is no mean feat, and he does so convincingly, without missing a beat. I mean the guy is so tightly wound it’s as though he’s wearing an emotional straightjacket. Anna Kendrick does her best to play catch up but when Affleck is on top form there’s no chance of stealing his spotlight.
By Ruth Walker