The Accountant stars Ben Affleck in the titular occupation as Christian Wolff, a man who suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome. I don’t know if the depiction of autism in this film was realistic, but throughout the film he’s depicted as being very insular, and it also shows him as a child, screaming loudly when he can’t find a final jigsaw piece, but this is done to show just how much he needs to finish what he started. There’s also some very weird stuff that takes place in his home which made little sense to me, but you’ll know it when you see it.
In the present day, he helps people dodge tax and given this premise of a man who cooks the books by day, and takes out the bad guys by night (or sometimes on his day off), I expected a daft actioner with Affleck jumping around from place to place, carrying out a great number of hitman kills all around the world, or at least something similar to the Taken films, and while I didn’t like Taken 2 or Taken 3 much, in the right hands, a silly action movie can come across as a reasonable two hours in the cinema – and Taken is the kind of success all studios want to replicate, but The Accountant was just a minor bit of action amongst all the dull accountancy, and just didn’t pay dividends.
It takes around 50 minutes before any action happens, and this should’ve taken about 30, at most. After that, I thought the film was finally taking off, but once it had done what it had to do, it settled back into its previous regime, where it continued until around the final 20 minutes. His major case inbetween comes when he’s tasked with going after a friend of John Lithgow‘s (as robotics expert Lamar Blackburn) who has been dodgy with his spreadsheets over the last 15 years. Due to his Asperger’s, he’s so precise and so exact in everything, so it’s a little odd that after doing a zillion calculations of the company’s assets, he details the first part of a large figure with exacting amounts, only to break off halfway through with “and some change”.
FBI bods Ray King (JK Simmons – Whiplash) and Marybeth Medina (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) are onto him, always one step behind such is the typical Hollywood trope. However, at least JK and Lithgow get their brief moments to shine, but that’s not enough to set aside Ben Affleck’s dull figure, who’s not at all convincing in his ‘insular individual’ role (Michael C Hall would’ve been a better bet, although it would be too close a role to Dexter, especially with Lithgow co-starring). I did enjoy Jon Bernthal as mad hitman Brax, though; his scenes were the most interesting about the movie. Meanwhile, Anna Kendrick‘s character was just her usual whiny self. Did she and Ben Affleck achieve the film’s 15-certificate by doing it ‘double-entry’? All I’ll say is that in the final analysis, I just felt she was entirely surplus to requirements.
Humour is placed very few and far between, which is a shame. The only one I can remember is when asked by one elderly couple, for whom he’s worked out their returns, whether he’d like to join them for some fishing in their lake, he replies, “I don’t fish… I shoot”. In fact, scriptwriter Bill Dubuque clearly put the film through the process of amortisation, since the longer it went on, less I cared what was happening, and the more I just wanted it to stop.
When it comes to my continuing end credit adventures, ‘in the black’ was something I wasn’t as the lights went on full blast during them to the point where the end credits couldn’t be read. As I understand this is down to levels set by Head Office, I contacted the Customer Services email and was given the the reason that it’s down to the local authority. Now, whenever I’ve had an end credits lighting situation at Odeon, they’ve never mentioned that, and the problem has only ever come about when the cleaners whack on the big cleaning lights in error.
However, the situation at Vue is so bright even without cleaner intervention, and when it completely whites out the screen, it’s intrusive and ruins the customer experience. To that end, I looked up the situation with cinema lighting and on this link, albeit relating to Westminster Council, and I found on page 27: “The level of management lighting in the auditorium shall be as great as possible consistent with the effective presentation or exhibition of the pictures.”
The level of lighting during end credits, as set by Vue Head Office, is not showing effective presentation or exhibition of the pictures, and is so bright in every screen I have been in that it’s intruding onto the screen in the manner I describe. So I have put that to them. More to come in the next review, if I have heard back from them by then (their automated email system said to allow up to 8 working days for a reply, but they came back to me within two.
And one element which I’ll put in a spoiler heading as it irritated me immensely, but don’t read it if you’re planning to watch it…
When someone at Warner Bros does this film’s audit trail, they’ll see that its value will depreciate with time.
Overall, The Accountant is a write-off.
The Accountant is available to pre-order on Blu-ray, 4K Blu-ray and DVD, and click on the poster for the full-size version.
Running time: 128 minutes
Studio: Warner Bros
Cinema: Vue, Lowry, Salford Quays
Format: 2.35:1 (Super 35)
Released: November 4th 2016
Director: Gavin O’Connor
Producers: Lynette Howell Taylor and Mark Williams
Screenplay: Bill Dubuque
Music: Mark Isham
Christian Wolff: Ben Affleck
Dana Cummings: Anna Kendrick
Ray King: JK Simmons
Brax: Jon Bernthal
Francis Silverberg: Jeffrey Tambor
Marybeth Medina: Cynthia Addai-Robinson
Lamar Blackburn: John Lithgow
Rita Blackburn: Jean Smart
Ed Chilton: Andy Umberger
Justine: Alison Wright
Neurologist: Jason Davis
Young Chris’ Father: Robert C Treveiler
Young Chris’ Mother: Mary Kraft
Young Chris: Seth Lee
Little Brother: Jake Presley
Young Justine: Izzy Fenech
Frank Rice: Ron Prather
Dolores Rice: Susan Williams
Don: Gary Basaraba
Sorkis: Fernando Chien
Simon Dewey: Alex Collins
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.