Arts movie review

Batman is back, and he knows how to do your taxes

The Accountant is a laughable action thriller that makes being a CPA cool

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Cynthia Addai-Robinson as Marybeth Medina and J.K. Simmons as Ray King in Warner Bros. Pictures' "THE ACCOUNTANT," a Warner Bros. Pictures release.
Chuck Zlotnick


The Accountant

Directed by Gavin O’Connor

Starring Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons, Jon Bernthal

Rated R

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Gavin O’Connor’s The Accountant centers around Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck), an autistic, mathematically gifted, gun-slinging, martial arts master who, when not running his own small accounting firm, is uncooking the books for major drug-lords, kingpins, and other nefarious criminal organizations. His clandestine practices have placed him on the watchlist of the Treasury Department’s Criminal Enforcement Division. Ray King (J.K. Simmons), the head of the division, enlists the help of junior officer Marybeth Medina (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) to find the mysterious figure known as “the Accountant.”

In an effort to stay off their radar, a character reminiscent of James Bond’s “M” decides Wolff’s next assignment should be with a legitimate client. Living Robotics, a high-tech prosthetics company, tasks Wolff with discerning the origins of a several million dollar discrepancy in tax filings found by one of their accounting clerks, Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick). This routine audit uncovers secrets that some would have preferred be left alone; thus, Affleck must don his “dark knight” suit once again.

As if selecting all his favorite ingredients from superhero movies and throwing them in a blender, screenwriter Bill Dubuque has concocted an incongruent mixture that can really only be described as laughable. Like all good origin stories, Christian Wolff’s past is told as a compilation of flashbacks that span the entirety of the film — his diagnosis with autism, the abandonment by mother, his troubles with an angsty little brother, and the brutal combat training from his military father. Wolff struggles to connect with people and understand human emotions but finds solace in order and numbers. His cold, calculating nature is supposedly why his moral barometer is slightly off, yet it becomes evident early on that Wolff has a soft-spot for the doe-eyed Dana Cummings. Their ensuing journey leads them on an elaborate adventure to seek justice by their own means.

The Accountant is a shoddy attempt at creating a new studio action/thriller series, but turned into a decent comedy. Dubuque tries to intertwine four separate plotlines, which each rely on numerous improbabilities, so one is bound to get lost in the convolutions. Few directors (and not even O’Connor at his best) could reconcile this scattered film into anything more than a humorous scrutiny of the superhero movie industry. Yet Affleck’s excellent fighting sequences, sad efforts at conversing with Anna Kendrick, and poor Rain Man impressions are enjoyable enough to watch. Affleck treads lightly depicting an autistic character and does an adequate job. I have a feeling that we will be seeing Wolff again.