The Accountant (2016)

I can honestly say there aren’t many films like this. The problem is I’m not sure about asking for more.

The Accountant is about as steeled and calculated as its protagonist, Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck, Argo). The man is an accountant, as the title suggests, but he does more than cook the average American’s books. He also manages the accounts of several criminal organizations around the globe, and he has a lifetime of combat training. When Wolff takes on a robotics company as a client, he starts to uncover a secret, and that’s when things get dangerous.

The thing that struck me about this film, even more than its precise and appealing cinematography, was the humor. In my packed screening, several people laughed out loud at all the right moments, which was something I did not expect. Christian Wolff, a matured savant, has the driest wit imaginable, paired with a perfect comic timing. And every performance, for the most part, plays off it, creating some memorable characters (Jon Bernthal, especially at the beginning, is phenomenal, and Anna Kendrick is endearing).

It’s just too bad that the good aspects of this film could not overcome its flaws. This film, despite everything, is immeasurably complicated, far more than any film needs to be. I did remain curious about certain clues in the plot, but by the end I was wondering why there were so many secrets. The third act, however competently it plays out, is a series of reveals that begins to wear you out.

The way this film was released, right in the middle of October, signifies the studio’s confidence in its chances for award season. On some levels, I could see that. This film has a lot of things going for it—Ben Affleck, a distinct tone, and a superb production design. It’s just that the plot is nearly as dense and convoluted as the taxes done by Christian Wolff.

2.5 Green

The Accountant is in theaters now.

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