As a math savant uncooks the books for a new client, the Treasury Department closes in on his activities, and the body count starts to rise.As a math savant uncooks the books for a new client, the Treasury Department closes in on his activities, and the body count starts to rise.As a math savant uncooks the books for a new client, the Treasury Department closes in on his activities, and the body count starts to rise.
A largely entertaining, but deeply flawed, action-thriller.
Ben Affleck's acting resurgence of the last few years (Argo, Gone Girl, his take on Batman) notches up another tick in the box, this time with an introspective and multi-layered turn as the titular black-market bookkeeper who battles autism, assassins and federal agents. An intricately woven thriller boasting multiple twists and turns—of varying predictability—there's enough meat on the narrative bones to compensate for the over-utilisation of rote flashbacks and the occasional slip into genre cliché. The autism angle certainly lends a fresh viewpoint on old tropes but the film never feels completely confident to commit, becoming selective about when it depicts the mental condition warts-and-all and when it tames it down to suit the scene. That's possibly an unfair criticism though as this movie is an action-thriller first and foremost, and a damn good one at that. The set pieces are a mix of scrappy hand-to-hand fights, à la the Bourne series, and gunplay that emphasises practicality similar to that displayed in John Wick; combining to create sequences that are both brutal and stylish. Thankfully the editing isn't as impatient as it can be in a lot of action flicks, with shots held on the recognisable actors just long enough to convince you they're doing their own stunts, whilst the booming sound design gives the sniper scenes an extra bit of chest-pummelling oomph. It's a shame the otherwise exciting finale is at times lit so dimly it's like you're viewing it with sunglasses on, as it detracts slightly from what could have been an epic climax. But hey, that's a minor quibble. Sharing the screen with Affleck, Jon Bernthal's wild streak comes out to play in another menacing badass role and J.K. Simmons is dependably magnetic as a lead agent with a secret past, however Anna Kendrick's kooky numbers cruncher seems to have walked in from a completely different movie (Pitch Perfect 3 perhaps?). It's by no means flawless, yet the high calibre action, gripping central performance and a few plot-based surprises make The Accountant a largely satisfying cinematic outing.
- Nov 5, 2016
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