Action film sceptics will likely avoid The Accountant: from the trailer, the posters and all other promotional material, it appears to be a very straightforward, predictable and thoughtless shoot-‘em-up flick as Gavin O’Connor desperately tries to reinvent, reinvigorate and breathe life into a dying genre. Instead, what is brought to the screen is an interesting, but ultimately flawed plot.
Ben Affleck plays an autistic accountant, Christian Wolff, who handles the finances of the most dangerous and illusive criminals, but is better at dealing with numbers than he is the social interactions. With the FBI close to discovering who is assisting the crime syndicates, Wolff decides to take on a seemingly innocent account lead by John Lithgow and is paired up with the ditsy, but talented Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick). As they work through the accounts and discover secrets that should have remained hidden, they become targeted and Wolff’s combative training becomes very useful.
The Accountant is enjoyable and the aspects that do work within the film make for entertaining sequences. Action scenes are well executed and scattered throughout. Cleverly, they do not hinder the progression of the plot but are just as enjoyable and are often shockingly brutal. Affleck performs well and where some may find his presentation of autism insensitive, there is enough character within Wolff that the audience doesn’t need to be side-tracked by his representation of a disorder. Anna Kendrick and Joe Bernthal also assist with interesting characters that definitely embellish a struggling narrative.
While The Accountant doesn’t hit the marks it strived to, it is a fun, alternative take on the modern action film. It is a shame that the contrived and crowded plot stops a good film from becoming a great one.