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Accountant, The


Stars: Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons, Jon Bernthal, Jeffrey Tambor, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, John Lithgow, Jean Smart

Director: Gavin O'Connor

Affleck, (cinema’s least exciting Caped Crusader?), turns lawless to play a mathematics savant-turned-crooked freelance accountant (“I have a highly functioning form of autism”) in a less-than-convincingly scripted (Bill Dubuque takes credit) thriller which delivers enough assorted gunplay, slugfests, sizzling car chases and bloodletting mayhem to satisfy action addicts who (rightly for much of the running time) may lose interest in a storyline whose far too frequent flashbacks finally engenders as much irritation over exactly what is happening as holding excitement.

(Ironically, child actor Seth Lee is more credibly autistic playing the young maths savant in one of the many flashbacks but, to be fair, at that stage the character he is playing is simply brilliant (he solves a jigsaw puzzle with the pieces upside down).

Adult Affleck, however, simply seems morose and, all too often, understandably unmoved by his hard-ass antics whenever he switches from number crunching to crunching all and sundry with fists, bullets and anything and everything he can lays his hand on.

Adult Affleck is happily working wonders juggling figures for devious drug lords from a minor mall in Darkest Illinois when he takes on an honest job looking for $70,000,000 missing from the books of Lithgow’s robotic company.

Cue not that convincing love interest when he starts to bond with clerk Kendrick who is helping him – but mere figures in the red are soon followed by plentiful bright scarlet blood when, with US Treasury agents on his tail, he proves to be an ace shot whose body count grows exponentially when he and Kendrick go on the run together…

As the story progresses, logic and credibility bite the dust along with the bad guys, interrupted by egregious flashbacks, while Affleck’s expression becomes more and more that of a man suffering from major constipation rather than coming to terms with his change from villain to hero and the unexpected emotional effects of late love…

Kendrick, Lithgow and, especially, Simmons steal the acting laurels, leaving director O’Connor valiantly concentrating on vividly staged action (almost 50 people are credited under the heading “Stunts”) and bloody bedlam to keep you watching.

There's even a tad of (deliberate) humour – Affleck, among other methods, launders crooked cash via a mall Laundromat.

And, as always, you learn something new at the movies, here when Affleck explains to Kendrick why they’re in an expensive hotel - because, he says “Cheaper hotels have scratchy towels”.

Alan Frank

USA 2016. UK Distributor: Warner. Colour.
128 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 06 Nov 2016