Time Out says
Ben Affleck plays an action hero on the spectrum in a tonally awkward movie that strays into absurdity.
“What is this?” shrieks this film’s villain (John Lithgow, bringing on the full, hammy Lithgowness) at an unfortunate moment in the laughably bad The Accountant. You’ll know exactly how he feels. Up to a certain point in Bill Dubuque’s staggeringly silly screenplay, we ache for Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck), having gotten to know the loneliness of an autistic child grown into an inert grumbler of an accountant. We see him epically fail at making cute with a flirty associate (Anna Kendrick, waves of confusion never leaving her brow). We even become excited as Christian cracks a corporation’s cooked books, writing all night on windows, like troubled mathletes do in movies.
Unfortunately, such plots aren’t enough these days. Not when Hollywood can turn an unassuming number cruncher into a superhero, as Dubuque does here. Christian also has a motor home full of military-grade weapons. He’s got a mysterious British-accented associate who gives him directions over the phone, à la Charlie’s Angels. And he has several depressed treasury agents (including a wasted J.K. Simmons) chasing him through an ominous Chicago. It really does feel like the film suddenly gets taken over by an overheated 10-year-old, kicking director Gavin O’Connor (Miracle, Tumbleweeds) to the curb.
Affleck’s Christian is so superhuman that his on-the-spectrum tics begin to feel like a parody of action heroism. With expressionless capability (forget about guilt or remorse), he fires his automatic into dozens of henchmen’s heads. It’s not the best advertisement for mental illness. And we still haven’t even got to the endless flashbacks of his browbeating father or the movie’s ridiculous finalé that turns The Accountant into a family reunion—if John Woo ever decided to stage one.
None of this adds up on the ledger; you can feel the reality seeping out of the movie like air from a shot tire on the Batmobile. Call it the Christopher Nolan Effect: Why so serious? The Dark Knight director has had a mortifying effect on movies. In this case, it’s almost as if Affleck’s somber plunge into the calamitous, Nolan-produced Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has followed him into other projects, like a heavy cologne. Avoid this one like the stink it is.
Follow Joshua Rothkopf on Twitter: @joshrothkopf
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