The Accountant review

If the Monty Python guys are to be believed, accountants are dull, bespectacled, socially-inept little dweebs who long to be lion tamers. The Accountant's Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) fits much of that description – he wears glasses, he lacks social skills (but there's a valid reason for that, because he has Asperger's syndrome) and he may or may not long to tame lions in his spare time. What he does do in his spare time is kill people. And while it's a mostly engaging and entertaining watch, there is a lot about The Accountant that simply doesn't add up.

Wolff is, on the surface, a small-town CPA working out of a strip mall – but he actually works as a freelance accountant for some of the world's most dangerous criminal organisations: drug cartels, arms dealers, the mob and money launderers. He's also a maths genius (thanks to his autism) as well as being a deadly assassin, thanks to the training his military father subjected him to when he was a boy.

Wolff's work has attracted the attention of the Treasury Department's Crime Enforcement Division, run by Ray King (JK Simmons). And when King and his colleague Marybeth Medina (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) start to close in, Wolff decides to take on a legitimate client: a state-of-the-art robotics company. Living Robotics, which specialises in making prosthetic limbs, is run by Lamar Blackburn (John Lithgow), who gets Wolff in to look for $61 million that's gone missing after in-house accountant Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick) has found suspicious financial discrepancies. As they dig deeper, the bodies start piling up and Dana and Chris are forced to go on the run.

Although it does get a lot of the details about people with autism right, the rest of The Accountant is a bit of a muddle, and not a lot of it makes sense. It's got plenty of decent action and a mighty fine cast – although Lithgow, Kendrick and Tambor are all criminally underused – and Affleck has created a fascinating character in Wolff, even if his motivations are often unclear (but man, all his Batman training has beefed him up and made him quite the ruthless killer). There are a lot of flashbacks (possibly a couple too many), too many subplots, a few plotholes, a couple of almost laughable coincidences and a final-act twist that really doesn't work and almost derails the entire film. But for all its faults, The Accountant is watchable enough thanks mainly to Affleck's central performance.

the accountant 2016 movie embed

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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