Not an obvious choice for a movie I’ll grant you, I can’t think of another off-hand that is based around an accountant or accountancy but, here we have it. Ben Affleck takes time out from the Bat costume to be the titular accountant, but is it any good?
The Accountant is about an accountant, Ben Affleck, who has high-functioning autism. Brought up with his brother, Jon Bernthal (Walking Dead), by their military father, they both gain specialist skills, and I’m not talking about numbers here. Fighting, weapons, you know the deal. At some point in their lives they separate and Affleck becomes an accountant for drug-lords, cartels and generally bad people. He also takes people out, that shaky ground where he’s killing people but their bad people. Bernthal meanwhile runs a private security firm who is not adverse to some underhand tactics himself.
Meanwhile, across town, J. K. Simmons (Whiplash, Spider-Man) and his young protégé Cynthia Addai-Robinson (Colombiana, Arrow) are chasing down the accountant after Simmons had a brief encounter with him early in his career and was allowed to live, unlike most people who meet the accountant.
When I saw the trailers for The Accountant I was immediately reminded of another Affleck film, 2003’s Paycheck. Now, whilst there are similarities, it would be wrong to say it’s the same film. But, even after seeing The Accountant (and I’ve not seen Paycheck for a long time) it still lingers that something is similar.
Affleck plays the role well, it isn’t, by any means, the best portrayal of a person with autism we’ve ever seen, hitman or not, nor Affleck’s best performance, but good nonetheless. J.K. Simmons is underused and Bernthal’s character should have been stronger. John Lithgow appears as the man who, inadvertently, reunites the two-brothers and again he’s underused, or hardly used at all.
Writer Bill Dubuque (The Judge, The Headhunter’s Calling) manages to put some black humour into the movie which is a relief as otherwise it’s a little tiresome and predictable. Director Gavin O’Connor (Warrior, Pride and Glory) does a decent job. The action pieces are well shot, including the fight scenes, it’s not ground-breaking but a good job is had.
You get the feeling that this movie could have gone one of two ways: either they manage to grab some stars, as they have done, and it gains a cinema release and isn’t bad, or the stars pass on it, some up and coming or on the way down actors take it and you have a straight-to-DVD release. It was lucky then that so many did come on board, probably an easier decision when Affleck said yes, as you could imagine this movie going straight to Netflix or wherever they go to die these days.
If you have two-hours to spare and there’s nothing else you fancy, you can do worse than The Accountant. It’s predictable, a little slow at times, the stars are mostly underused, the men are all ‘real men’ whilst the women are the ones that need help (Anna Kendrick’s (Into The Woods, 50/50) character for example – not quite sure her role in the movie) but, there are some funny black humour moments, Affleck’s character is unemotional and brutal and the action isn’t that bad.