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USA 2016
Directed by
Gavin O'Connor
128 minutes
Rated MA

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2 stars

The Accountant

Synopsis: As a child Christian Wolff suffered from an acute from of autism. Now an adult (played by Ben Affleck) he is a freelance genius accountant with some of the world's most dangerous criminals as his clients.  In order to take the heat off himself for a while Christian takes a job with a state-of-the-art robotics company run by Lamar Blackburn (John Lithgow) to trace an accounting error of $70m discovered by accounting clerk Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick). But meanwhile,Treasury Department's Crime Enforcement Division boss Ray King (J.K. Simmons) is on his trail.

If anyone can tell me what this movie is about I will treat them to dinner at the restaurant of their choice. Yes, one can readily make out the bare bones of story as per the synopsis already provided but beyond that it is a low-lit blur of what the…, who the…, why the good god almighty twists and turns as it jumps back in forth in time, giving us the back-story of Christian’s tortured upbringing, his dysfunctional present, dirty deeds afoot at the company he's contracting to, and the endeavours of a junior tax department analyst (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) with a past to track him down..

Initially it looks like a promising set-up but as the film progresses Christian becomes increasingly like some kind of unstoppable super-hero with illimitable resources and a British-accented handler, with whom he communicates by phone, keeping him one step ahead of the game, while characters appear and disappear, the latter usually thanks to a bullet to the head. The body count rises with faceless goons being decimated by militaristically armed crack-shot Christian barely enduring a hair out of place as the plot morphs into a meaningless concatenation of wanton killing that looks like one of those ultra-violent video games one has seen in other films. That its resolution parades a sensitive side in its treatment of autism as “different not damaged” only adds to its shoddy superficiality.

Affleck is breathtakingly handsome but all he manages to do is play stoically detached (the source of some grim humour) whilst Ms Kendrick does the chipper girl-next-door schtik that has stood her in good stead since her break-out role in 2009’s Up In The Air. J.K. Simmons delivers as a world-weary law enforcer with a dry turn of phrase but John Lithgow take us well into the parodic before the film ties everything up with a Hollywood script-writing 101 ending.

Take my word for it, you’ve seen everything here done many times before and much better so.




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