What would happen if a macho Army colonel took his shy but mathematically brilliant autistic son and raised him to become a martial arts killing machine so the boy would be capable of living in a world that had little patience or sympathy with his condition?
Writer Bill Dubugue (The Judge) and director Gavin O’Conner (Warrior) have taken the astonishingly silly premise described above and constructed a shaggy-dog plot that begins and ends somewhere in the middle of an argument for better treatment of autism, wasting in the process a talented cast including Ben Affleck, J.K. Simmons, Jeffery Tambor, Anna Kendrick and John Lithgow.
Affleck plays Christian Wolff, a highly successful forensic accountant brought in to detect internal frauds in various enterprises. Because much of his client base generates its profits from highly illegal sources, Wolff labors under the assumption that sooner or later, he might silenced by a customer eager to hide the secrets he uncovers. How best to protect himself? Perhaps by collecting his fee then tipping off the authorities? Or have someone follow in his wake to silence potential threats before they can silence him?
Throw a younger brother, an aging cellmate, an attractive professional acolyte and a cynical government official into the mix and an incoherent stew merges, combining graphic violence, intriguing financial puzzles and scenes that oscillate between genuine sympathy for and patronizing condescension towards those suffering from autism. Despite solid performances from the cast and a potentially intriguing if improbable premise, The Accountant becomes just another example of box-office inspired mayhem. Put Affleck’s flawed hero in a pair of brightly-colored tights and he’s be just another hero from the pages of a Marvel Comic book.
The Verdict? Interesting elements that become a jumbled mess.
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