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The Accountant (2016, Gavin O’Connor)

This is a kind of bizarre hybrid of an action movie with a serial killer-style crime investigation combined with forensic accounting – yes, I know how that sounds – that is surprisingly effective much of the time, but has some massive flaws that keep it from really working.

Mild Spoilers

First, let’s deal with the good stuff:

Ben Affleck is surprisingly good as this autistic character, certainly more than I expected. And the action scenes are done pretty well. Also, I laughed at some of the humorous moments, and the balance of the humour with the overt seriousness of the film was handled better than most attempts. 

But now let’s deal with the bad:

  • Okay so an autistic forensic accountant who can turn into a hitman is a really ridiculous premise.
  • The scenes where Affleck’s character abuses himself are really not very good.
  • The balance of the film is kind of off  – one part of the story just vanishes for a huge chunk of it amid the flashbacks.
  • Also, it’s hard to understand what the hell the Treasury Department has to do with anything.
  • Then there is the reveal, which is in two parts and which is a gigantic mess:
    1. First, we learn that Simmons’ character has a personal connection to the investigation that he has not revealed – not only does his connection to the investigation not appear to make much chronological sense but it is also utterly bizarre that he would not reveal this information to the person investigating Affleck’s character.
    2. And the thing with his brother, which I should have seen coming earlier than I did, is really dumb, especially given the loss of life.
  • There are other things about the denouement that really don’t make any sense the moment you think about them.

There are enough problems that I want to overlook the good aspects. There’s just too much movie – too much plot, too many characters, to much backstory for each of the characters – and a film with the same characters, albeit a couple fewer, and the same overall plot would likely have overcome its ridiculous premise and been quite good. But this film is a mess.

5/10

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