Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) is a mathematics savant with more affinity for numbers than people due to his high functioning autism. Using a small-town accounting office as a cover, he makes his living as a freelance accountant for dangerous criminal organisations. With a Treasury agent (J.K. Simmons) hot on his heels, Christian takes on a state-of-the-art robotics company as a legitimate client. As Wolff gets closer to the truth about a discrepancy that involves millions of dollars, the body count starts to rise.
The Accountant must surely be one of the years dullest movie titles? It would be too lazy and frankly easy to say the film matches the title for excitement levels but sadly that is the case. The Accountant is many things and therein lies the problem.
It is could be considered a low budget Bourne and or Bond caper. It could label itself as a tale of espionage and black market arms trading. Or it could be a family drama. Any and all of these descriptions are valid and all of their various, unnecessarily complicated, elements are in play. Yet none of these receive the films full attention and that is the major problem with this forgettable yet fairly entertaining tale.
Affleck is in good form as the deadpan Accountant with the deadly skills. His high functioning autism, which fuels his spreadsheet shredding mind sadly gets lost in the brawl for attention of action versus back story. This was the most interesting element for me and I would have been quite happy for the focus to remain there. Sadly indecision took control and an opportunity was missed.
So badly handled was this element that at times Wolff's autistic traits are almost played for laughs which I found a little distasteful. I'm sure that was not the intention but certainly his lack of social skills and understanding of nuance in conversation with other characters garnered hearty laughs in the screening I attended and I was very uncomfortable with that.
All other major players are forgettable and Anna Kendrick spends the film wandering through with a bewildered look on her face even when dodging bullets. At one point a cry of 'What is going on' from John Lithgow's villainous CEO raised a chuckle in me as I was reassured I wasn't the only one struggling with the details.
Even J K Simmons seems to be sleep walking his way through this lack lustre thriller and no individual involved every really appears to be in top gear at any point. There are some enjoyable moments within the film and action sequences are well handled but these will be forgotten easily by the time you leave the screening.
he Accountant is not a thriller on the simple basis that no thrills exist within. My favourite moment was watching Affleck whizz through spreadsheets of figures while classical music played to highlight his intelligence. No film should ever have swirling spreadsheets as a selling point!
The Accoutant is not as dull a film as the title suggests however it is not unfair to say that a better title may have been The Pedestrian.
The Accountant is in cinemas from 4 November.
Thanks to Movie House for screening access.