Affleck's Newest Film Needed More Editing
BY DAVID LYNCH
There haven’t been many Hollywood heroes like the one in “The Accountant.” Then again, Ben Affleck’s portrayal of Christian Wolff – an autistic bookkeeper-terminator figure – could hardly be called a hero.
Nonetheless, the film displays the disorder as a strength – not just in Wolff, but in others. Our differences, “The Accountant” argues, should be celebrated and embraced.
It’s an appropriate message, one not explored in contemporary film as much as it should be, let alone in action thrillers like the one brought to us by director Gavin O’Connor.
Unfortunately, the film turns what could have been an in-depth exploration of a misunderstood disorder into a gimmick, one of many that make up an overstuffed, overambitious plot that is as varied in tone as it is tough to follow.
“The Accountant” has enough material for three movies, or even a short season of binge watch-worthy TV. There are so many moving parts involved that are easy to forget about, even though they are all interconnected in a complex web of … stuff that happens on-screen. It seems like a first cut of a film rather than a finished product, resulting in a two-hour affair that feels more like four.
In the course of its runtime, “The Accountant” leaves the audience in the dark at so many points, and especially in the way it tries to connect every piece of its ensemble of characters to one another.
There’s an admirable attempt to create a deeply layered story, and even glimpses of what could have been a very memorable work had its excess been stripped away. Most of the film’s narratives are a means to an end, many of them laughably disposable.
The film almost knows it too, utilizing sound and fury at some of the most opportune moments to break up the lifeless, obfuscated hodge-podge of plotlines.
Affleck, and most of the supporting cast, is acceptable enough, though Anna Kendrick looks out of her element here, to the point that “The Accountant” seems like a totally different movie when she’s on-screen. This could be the darkest fare she’s been involved with in her career, and she does what she can for the role, but she’s simply miscast.
There’s a good film somewhere in “The Accountant” – perhaps even a great one that touches on the impact of autism on families. But the audience shouldn’t be asked to seek out and fit those pieces together.
David Lynch is an award-winning movie reviewer.