Ben Affleck and Anna Kendrick star in Gavin O’Connor’s thriller about an anti-social math genius who is also an ace fighter and marksman.
The Accountant is both an intriguingly and maddeningly schizophrenic action drama: It’s intriguing due to its audacious attempt to make an anti-social, on-the-spectrum math genius into an action hero, and maddening because, having gone halfway toward genuine eccentricity, it conforms by relying on fatigued genre tropes when it finally gets down to business. All the more frustrating because of its conceptual freshness and Ben Affleck’s sly turn in the title role, this sleek action thriller ends up delivering standard shoot-’em-up goods after initially suggesting it might provide something rather different. The sizable target audience probably won’t mind.
It was definitely a nifty little brainstorm screenwriter Bill Dubuque (The Judge) had — to hatch the notion of a “different” sort of kid whose computer-fast talent with numbers, combined with fighting and marksmanship skills forced upon him by his sadistic military father, made Christian Wolff (Affleck) into a valued employee for big-time mobsters and others interested in cooking their books and keeping their stashes safe.
Suffice it to say that, instead of getting shrinks, emotional coddling and extra time on school tests, young Christian received the sort of education Uma Thurman had when she went to Japan in Kill Bill. As a grown-up hunk he’s like Rock Hudson in the 1950s, with short black hair, shoulders as broad as Atlas, spectacles, conservative black suits and limited conversational proficiency.