‘What is this?’ shrieks the villain (John Lithgow) in this laughably bad action thriller. You’ll know how the guy feels. Up to a certain point in this staggeringly silly film, you empathise with our hero Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck). We watch him grow from an autistic child into a grumbling accountant. We see him epically fail to hit it off with a flirty junior accountant (Anna Kendrick). It’s even exciting when Christian cracks a crooked company’s accounts, writing all night on windows, like troubled math geniuses in movies always do.
Unfortunately, ‘The Accountant’ also turns Affleck’s unassuming number cruncher into an action superhero. Christian has a motorhome full of military-grade weapons. He’s got a mysterious British-accented associate who gives him directions over the phone for his sideline in money-laundering. And he has several depressed treasury agents (including JK Simmons, wasted) chasing him through Chicago.
Affleck’s Christian turns out to be practically superhuman. Expressionless (forget about guilt or remorse), he fires his automatic into dozens of henchmen’s heads. And we still haven’t got to the endless flashbacks of his bullying father or the movie’s ridiculous finale that turns ‘The Accountant’ into a family reunion (if Hong Kong action supremo John Woo ever decided to stage one).
None of this adds up. You can feel the reality seeping out of the movie like air from a slashed tyre on the Batmobile. It’s almost as if the bad smell from Affleck’s sombre plunge into the disastrous ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ has followed him into other movies, like too much aftershave. Avoid the stink.