Review: The Accountant doesn't add up to much

Ben Affleck in The Accountant
Ben Affleck in The Accountant

Matt Adcock reviews The Accountant (15), starring Ben Affleck

Christian Wolff is good with numbers. He has an affinity with them. People though? Not so much.

Christian works as an accountant for some of the world's most dangerous criminal organisations. He makes their bookkeeping look legitimate but a man from the Treasury is trying to shut him down. So it looks like he'll have to use his other set of skills – those as a ruthless and unstoppable killer – in order to make things turn out alright.

Wolff (Ben Affleck) is an interesting character, part Raymond Babbitt (Rain Man), part Jason Bourne (assassin). The plot however is mixed bag of million-dollar accounting discrepancy investigation, potboiler dodgy deeds thriller and surface level study into Asperger's Syndrome (which is used as a kind of super power which feels odd). Director Gavin ‘Warrior’ O’Connor injects some good action scenes whenever the financial stuff gets a bit dull and there is a decent body count for those looking for an unusual action thriller.

The Accountant isn’t however a film you’ll be able to take very seriously. Everything from the flashbacks of how Wolff’s father (Robert ‘House of Cards’ C Treveiler) had him trained in a kind of Batman-lite sort of assassination school (in case he got picked on for his condition) through to his motivation for helping young struggling junior accountant Dana Cummings (Anna ‘Pitch Perfect’ Kendrick) doesn’t really click.

Having said that the production values are high and Affleck brings his hunky charisma to this killing-by-numbers party. The list of potential bad guys is topped by Lamar Black (the awesome John Lithgow) who may be behind the missing millions but Wolff himself is being investigated by Ray King (JK Simmons) and his coerced minion operative Marybeth Medina (Cynthia Addai-Robinson).

As the danger amps up alongside the number of people who Wolff has to shoot, the bookkeeping is left on the shelf and the film goes all out for climactic thrills. This makes the many scenes of painstaking paperwork seem more like plot gimmicks used to dress up a by the numbers action effort.

If you’ve a hankering for some big screen accounting mixed with some effective brutal action kill streaks, make an appointment with The Accountant. Just don’t expect it all to add up to much.