Direction: Gavin O’Connor
Actors: Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick
The man is a bundle of contradictions. A genius with numbers, he works as a freelance accountant for small-scale entrepreneurs as well as major corporates in Illinois. But not many people are aware that his clients are mainly arms dealers, drug cartels and criminal syndicates.
Afflicted with autism since childhood, the extra-legal bookkeeper is at odds with social skills. Equipped with an impressive arsenal of weapons, he also dispenses vigilante justice with lethal precision.
But after his cover is blown by a conscientious government official (Whiplash Oscar-winner J.K. Simmons), the mathematician uses his ‘beautiful mind’ to investigate the irregularities at a bona-fide robotics company owned by a tycoon (old-timer John Lithgow).
Soon enough the accountant and the firm’s petite whistleblower (Kendrick) are on the run, pursued by a trigger-happy mercenary (Jon Bernathal, chillingly sadistic).
Despite the novelty factor --- after all autism, accountancy and blood-soaked thriller elements have rarely commingled in a Hollywood movie before --- The Accountant fails to sufficiently develop the characters’ relationships.
The scattershot script strings together a series of disjunctive flashbacks involving the protagonist’s traumatic upbringing and his friendship with a jailbird (Jeffrey Tambor) who taught him the ropes of manipulating the ledgers.
To be fair to director Gavin O’Connor (Warrior), he orchestrates the action set pieces, including the climactic shoot-‘em-up, at a raging pace. Also, there is a surprising revelation which contributes towards defusing the tension of a volatile situation.
At best, The Accountant may be worth checking out for its very personable ensemble. Led by the deceptively mild-mannered Ben Affleck, they elevate the film above the standard B-movie entertainment.