In The Accountant, Ben Affleck takes some time from his one-man crusade to course correct the DC Extended Universe to step into crime thriller badass shoes as Christian Wolff, a math savant with a mysterious past and a lucrative side business uncooking the books for notorious criminal organizations AND living to tell the tale. Of course, it’s a job that looks legit on the surface that threatens to unravel his carefully constructed universe.
When an ambitious junior accountant (Anna Kendrick putting her trademark charm to a mildly against-type role) finds a significant amount of missing money at a tech firm, Christian is called in to track it down. What he uncovers threatens both of their lives, fortunately, he’s a secret badass, so this ultimately triggers a game of cat and mouse that carries us through this fun if sometimes awkward narrative.
Affleck does some very fine, nuanced work as Christian, bringing the film more gravitas than it might have had with a lesser actor in the role — what occasionally sends the train off the rails is a plot that so strives for twists and turns it sometimes trips over itself or leaves reason stranded a few platforms back. It also occasionally leaps from moments that feel like the middle of one scene to a time and place that have nothing whatsoever to do with what came before, nor any explanation for the viewer. And the big twist? It’s telegraphed way, way, way too aggressively. The only doubts that creep in are the result of the fact that this twist, true though it turns out to be, seems so implausible that some other viewers let out loud “OOOOHhhhHHHH”s of comprehension mingled with mild confusion.
Still, taken at face value, warts and all, The Accountant is a fun, fast-paced bit of cinema that gives us unexpected laughs, spectacle and a unique hero to root for, even when he’s effectively intimidating at stealth throat-stabbing people on the city streets in broad daylight.