The Accountant (R)

The Accountant, featuring Ben Affleck and Anna Kendrick (Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates), is billed as an action/crime/drama.  Ben Affleck plays an autistic, seemingly mild manner accountant who has the capacity to turn into a kick-ass, badmothershutyomouth in an instant.  Not only is it an action/crime/drama, it is also part love story, part educational tool, part mystery, part plot-twisted thriller, etc., etc., etc.

I must admit, I have been watching Ben Affleck act for a long time, and over the years I have developed no feelings one way or another about his acting abilities. I have never once said to myself “Ben Affleck has a movie out I have to see!”  Nor have I ever said, ‘Ben Affleck is in the movie!  Never mind.  I don’t want to see it.”  After this movie, I really still cannot tell whether this man can act, or if he is this one-note dude who stays in his lane and chooses roles in his range, or roles are written with him in mind.  The Accountant is autistic so Affleck didn’t even have to bother changing facial expressions or even speak too much.  Maybe that’s why he wants to be successful at superhero-dom, or the powers that be are pushing for it, or whatever…  Because it suits his acting style – whatever that may be.  Here, Affleck  is superhero-ish with a Robin Hood complex, a mastery of self defense and martial arts and an expressionless expression.  Costars in the movie performed well and it was nice to see some old, familiar, truly talented faces.

Unfortunately, just as The Accountant was billed, this movie attempted to go in too many directions and tried to be too many things at once. In its effort to cram in all types of messages, story lines, characters and morals, it became quite a large mess.  The script could have used a few more rewrites, chopping away weaker portions of the story to make room for the stronger aspects of the film, like the action part of it.

This “everything but the kitchen sink” approach played like a set up for a movie that is fishing for a sequel. I got to know the characters in this movie far too well.  Yes.  Too well.  I didn’t think this was a thing that was possible, but it happened here.  There was too much time spent on filling the audience in on the background of too many characters.  Not that the flashbacks weren’t informative and entertaining, but the things the flashbacks helped to explain got too complicated at times.  At other times, when portions of the history of characters should have been acted out they were narrated.  At other times pertinent bits of info were conveniently left out and casually dropped with all the subtlety of a bomb later, causing your jaw to drop.  This was The Accountant at its best.

Once the action started, I did not want it to stop. The action sequences were so well choreographed I wish The Accountant had abandoned the idea of trying to be every genre of movie and just turned into a full-on action movie.  It could have been great.  Instead, it was a good movie that was fun at times, funny at times, with a ludicrous ending.  And I don’t mean ‘ludicrous’ in an altogether bad way, believe it or not; but in a way that was entertaining, but certainly silly.

The Accountant earned 7 bloops out of 10. It is an entertaining movie.  I won’t say it wasn’t good, because it was, but it was muddled and could have been sooooo much better. No need to rush to a theater to see it if you’re not a fan of Affleck, or even if you are.  It will make a perfectly decent Netflix and chill pick on an upcoming wintery night.

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