The Accountant

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This movie had me on the fence, because while I thought the premise was completely preposterous, it also entertained me. It entertained my girlfriend a bit more, which surprised me.

Perhaps if instead of the filmmakers’ making the accountant a character with Asperger’s, and just OCD, it would’ve been more believable (or less offensive). Instead, we are led to believe that you could turn autistic kids into math whiz, killing machines if you give them just the right amount of tough love (which in this movie, is extreme abuse from the dad…another argument I had with the girlfriend over this picture).

Just as you wonder how you can sympathize with a character that does the books for terrorists and drug dealers, he ends up winning you over. He helps a couple keep their farm, and he does have a moral code.

Ben Affleck, perhaps upset that his BFF Matt Damon got to play a math whiz (Good Will Hunting) and the ultimate killing machine (Jason Bourne), felt that combining the two characters would be the way to go. You can’t argue with the casting. Affleck has been made fun of for his stiff performances, but that unemotional, stiff behavior fits this character perfectly.

It’s funny, critics often make fun of actors that go in and out of the accent they’re supposed to have (last week it was Rachel Weisz in Denial). I’m more concerned with flaws in the logic of the character they’re giving us. For example, we’re told a few times about how this guy doesn’t make eye contact. Yet…when it comes to a possible love interest (the poorly cast Anna Kendrick), or saying something to a person he’s about to kill…he has no problem with it.

A Treasury Department investigator (J.K. Simmons) is on his tail. His character would be fun, except that he blackmails a junior agent (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) in a way that’s so mean, part of me hoped he might take a bullet in his bald head at some point (but like the accountant, he eventually wins you over). The young agent is put in charge of finding out who this mysterious accountant is.

The plot thickens when the accountant goes in to clean the books of a prosthetics company owned by John Lithgow. He finds they’re missing $61 million, and then bodies start piling up. It’s at this job that he meets Dana (Kendrick), who not only looks too young, the audience felt she was comic relief. She would say things that weren’t meant to elicit big laughs, but the screening audience laughed anyway. It made the character a bit distracting (on this, my girlfriend and I agreed).

There’s an interesting character Jeffrey Tambor plays, who in prison, tells the accountant about how to work dirty with the bad guys. You wish there would’ve been a few more of those scenes.

Jon Bernthal (The Walking Dead, and my favorite — Me and Earl and the Dying Girl) plays an interesting character. He’s a hit-man type, who shows up at big corporations and beats the crap out of guys laundering money. He’s eventually called in to quiet the accountant. Any guesses on who will win that battle?

The movie has a few too many goofy plot twists and hackneyed exposition. Yet I have to give director Gavin O’Connor (Warrior) a bit of credit. The action scenes are a blast and there are a few humorous moments that work.

There are also a few things we couldn’t figure out, but it wasn’t enough to ruin the movie.

All and all, this adds up to (see what I did there?) a decent action picture, that fans of the genre will enjoy.

2 ½ stars out of 5.

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