Ben Affleck finally gets a crack at being Will Hunting if he fused with Jason Bourne if not just to spite his best friend Matt Damon. Like those two films previously mentioned, Affleck gives a really strong performance as Christian Wolff as a mathematically gifted savant who’s strengths lie in numbers and not social ques. The film is directed by Warrior helmer Gavin O’Conner which normally makes for a promising sell for the film, but sadly, the overlong plot keeps going to an undisclosed destination like we were being kidnapped for ransom. Maybe that’s too harsh, but it feels like I’m driving in a car for two hours without having actually gone anywhere.
Affleck, like when he brought life to the most recent Batman, proves to us with every performance that he an actor that has worked on his craft. His ability to bring to the tensely constricted emotion, or lack thereof, to his character is what kept me going. Beyond Affleck’s performance, and maybe Anna Kendrick early on, I can’t say I cared about much else. The film is like looking at a lit candle and hoping the wax melts sooner than later. With the ridiculous, lazy usage of backstory narrative, the film becomes less compelling with each character’s history. Not to say that there aren’t some character’s who had solid scenes with what they were given, but it’s not enough to keep the story flowing cohesively for an audience to handle for over two hours.
What I can say is this, the director along with Affleck handled the idea of an autistic antihero with care and respect. Nowhere in this film did I find parody, satirization, or disrespect anywhere for any character. That lead me to believe that the idea of a protagonist with a “disability” is without a doubt a possibility for future films if done respectfully and cleverly. The hardships you see Wolff’s character face are what make the movie compelling, but also pose as the reasons why the film should have been more compelling to us the viewers. The predictability of where the story goes in the third act takes me out of the film completely and leaves no real closure or satisfaction.
In the end, The Accountant is a solid rainy day movie, but for what the film presented as a plot, the movie’s execution should have been much stronger. The action was minimal, character arcs were too often and lazy, while never taking us to the heights you would hope. J.K. Simmons, Anna Kendrick, Jon Berthal, and Affleck are ideal candidates for a film like this, but the dry nature of the movie desaturated the talents involved thanks to the lackluster script. Is this a “bad” movie? It’s actually not, but it’s definitely far from what many fans would have wanted from what the trailers and talents involved presented. If anything, it should excite you more for Affleck’s solo Batman movies more than ever since we see Batman (Affleck) and Commissioner Gordon (Simmons) interact with each other!