The Accountant (2016)

An odd high-concept thriller, that feels like around five very different films awkwardly mashed into one. There were some really interesting elements, and the premise alone (Ben Affleck portrays an autistic genius that acts as an accountant by day, and gunman by night) is engaging, but so much of the film devolves into genre dreck, that it never comes together as a cohesive or compelling final work.

I’ve always had a soft spot for Affleck, and I think he does good work here, but the role doesn’t really play to a lot of his strengths, and so much of film ignores and pushes aside what’s interesting about the character, in favour of indulging in painful genre stereotypes (one character truly spends around 90% of her scenes purely reacting to search engine results; it’s like all the worst parts of a cheap crime television show shoved into a high-budget feature film).

Still, the ways in which the film fails are honestly intriguing enough to make the film sort of…pseudo-compelling? Jon Bernthal gives a performance which feels like it’s from an entirely different era (1980s cheesy action flicks), let alone different film. Anna Kendrick feels like she was shipped in from some cute 2000s romantic comedy. The amount of twist revelations at the end border on the absurd, with some of the most minor plot elements from the first act given bizarrely important closure. Several parts of the film feel strangely like references to Affleck’s new (at the time) role as Batman. Jeffery Tambor also plays a father figure inside a gaol, in what feels impossible not to take as a strange nod to Arrested Development.

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It’s not always a good film, but it is always an entertaining one. There’s a film in here I’d give around four stars to, but as for the actual film we get, I’d give it two and a half rounds of ammo, and a copy of Action Comics #1.

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