The Accountant review: Ben Affleck’s film is an awkward assassin drama | movie reviews | Hindustan Times
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The Accountant review: Ben Affleck’s film is an awkward assassin drama

movie-reviews Updated: Oct 15, 2016 13:48 IST
Rohit Vats
Rohit Vats
Hindustan Times
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The Accountant lives undercover, doesn’t talk much and keeps murdering targets throughout the world.

The Accountant
Cast: Ben Affleck, John Bernthal, Anna Kendrick
Director: Gavin O’Connor
Rating: 2/5

Dana: The fun goes to die when I go to the Chicago University?

Christian: Why does the fun go die?

--Awkward silence--

Christian: I was joking.

This is a moment from the life of genius, yet lonely, finance analyst Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck), who works for international drug cartels and weapon dealers. Thanks to his excellent book-keeping skills, Wolff is a favourite with mafia bosses looking for money laundering fronts. But, this isn’t the only purpose he solves. Our man can double up as a deadly assassin if need be.

So, we are dealing with a mathematics wonder, who calculates 247,891 times 92 faster than we could type it, and someone trained in all sorts of martial arts. Especially the kind Hollywood assassins use to look good in fast cuts and shaky cameras.

He lives undercover, doesn’t talk much and keeps murdering targets throughout the world. His cockiness stays somewhere in between that of Jason Statham (The Transporter) and Matt Damon (Jason Bourne Series).

He isn’t on the police radar yet but treasury department will soon get a lead.

Gavin O’Connor (director of Warrior, 2011) has a pretty interesting idea at his hands: A number champion trapped in the body of a hitman. He uses autism to pad it up and adds the always handy theory of a broken home. There is still something missing. What is it? There has to be someone the guy must protect. There comes Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick), a sweet-talking assistant accountant, who keeps asking innocent questions amid the flurry of bullets.

Anna Kendrick plays a sweet-talking foil to Ben Affleck’s character.

So much dilution happens that The Accountant starts looking like a sequel to The Mechanic.

Flashbacks keep telling us about Wolff’s past where his father wanted him to be unbelievably self-sufficient. It was probably the only narrative technique left with the director to show the backstory of an emotionally challenged nerd-turned-gangster.

Whatever O’Connor uses to shift gears, it brings the audience back to Wolff and his charismatic trigger happy fingers. Affleck’s glum presence is of some help here. At least, the guy behaves like a stereotypical book-keeper.

Then suddenly the story of a deadly assassin changes into an irrepressible urge to leave behind a legacy while you keep crying for more of cartels and their modus operandi. In fact, Wolff actually goes obvious and says, “I want to leave something behind.” Yes, we get it. That’s why you killed hundreds of characters in the film.

At least, the guy behaves like a stereotypical book-keeper.

That’s not the only unintentional dark humour in The Accountant. Here, assassins love to lecture their victims on job cuts and fiscal deficit. So much in the name of mainstream American cinema!

JK Simmons’ underachieving treasury officer and Cynthia Addai-Robinson’s determined cop are of no help. They look like they were shot in patches and clogged together.

The Accountant starts from nowhere and reaches nowhere as it keeps oscillating between a good idea and an average execution. The film seems longer than its 120-minute length.

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The author tweets @nawabjha