Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) governs a lucrative business as a freelance accountant for dangerous criminal organisations whilst hiding a past of strict army-style parenting. As the US treasury run by Ray King (J.K. Simmons) closes in, he takes on a legitimate client, an accounting clerk (Anna Kendrick) who has discovered a discrepancy involving millions of dollars.

The Accountant sees busy man Ben Affleck return to our cinema screens again, prompting viewers to ask: Does the man ever take a break? His onslaught of films in the box office leads the spectator to believe that he is a man with a point to prove, and Affleck’s portrayal of autism in the Accountant is something to be admired. There is a real attention to detail: lack of eye contact, his compulsive tidiness, his confusion at common phrases and his anger when he can’t finish a puzzle are portrayed with precision. Affleck also utilises dry humour perfectly to make the audience laugh in contrastingly serious contexts, such as a hostage situation.

This performance is nothing extraordinary and you can’t expect to be seeing Ben Affleck with a golden manikin statue in his hand for the role of Christian Wolff. But it is a smart, likeable performance and saves the film from being sub-par. The film is plagued by inconsistencies. For example, why would a company with everything to hide hire an accountant who sees everything? And why would JK Simmons’s retiring FBI agent recruit a young federal analyst to investigate Christian without revealing what he already knows about him? It is far fetched in places and littered with bizarre coincidences which are eye-roll-worthy – but the stylish and intense action sequences recover the lacklustre story.

Although the cameo roles hold serious potential, they regrettably flop. Anna Kendrick is nothing short of irritating: her character is wet and the addition of a love story is just unnecessary and cheapens the film. As much as I love J.K Simmons for his role in Whiplash, his character’s story is too far fetched and undermines a sturdy performance. You get the impression this film is a by-product of a group of people desperately trying to spice up James Bond but The Accountant doesn’t quite pay the bills.

Ben Kempton

[3star]

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