Review: THE ACCOUNTANT (2016) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Review: THE ACCOUNTANT (2016)

Review: THE ACCOUNTANT (2016)

THE ACCOUNTANT sees Ben Affleck plays the eponymous protagonist a.k.a. Christian Wolff, who is actually more than just an autistic math genius. Wolff also happens to be an ace marksman and a martial arts expert. When he finds himself caught in a web of deception working freelance for the CEO of Living Robotics corporation (John Lithgow), he made use of his skill to save the company's CPA analyst Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick) from a team of professional hitmen led by Brax (Jon Bernthal). Elsewhere, Treasury Department director Ray King (J.K. Simmons) enlists his new assistant Marybeth Medina (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) to uncover Christian's shady reputation for managing the finances of many wanted criminals around the world.

REVIEW: Judging from the premise, it sure looks promising enough: A seemingly mild-mannered accountant who is not only good at crunching numbers but also an expert in weaponry skill and breaking bones. Plus, it's Ben Affleck in a leading role as he plays a character with an alter ego. Sounds familiar? Think of him as a Batman, minus all the fancy gadgets and superhero costume. In THE ACCOUNTANT, Affleck delivers a committed performance as Christian Wolff. At one point, he is portrayed as both reclusive and an introvert with poor social skills. When he tries to communicate with Dana Cummings, you can see the awkwardness within his speech pattern and facial expression. Then on the other side of his character, he also excels as a deadly action hero. During a particularly memorable scene, he dispatches a group of hired assassins with his JOHN WICK-like shooting skill and a bone-crunching martial arts technique while saving Cummings in her apartment. Though that action scene is brief, it certainly one of the best set-pieces you've ever seen this year.

Speaking of Cummings, Anna Kendrick is instantly likeable in her role. Her chemistry with Ben Affleck truly gels, especially during their awkward conversation moment in a hotel suite.The rest of the supporting actors, including J.K. Simmons and Cynthia Addai-Robinson deliver decent supports to their respective roles. But Jon Bernthal tries too hard to be cool and bad-ass playing a lead assassin role. John Lithgow's shady role as the CEO of Living Robotics corporation is supposedly a welcome sight, given his prior experiences of playing such antagonist role in the past. It's just too bad his character is terribly underused.

Review: THE ACCOUNTANT (2016)

Bill Dubuque's screenplay actually has lots of potentials. More than just your average action thriller, THE ACCOUNTANT also deals with a dramatic insight surrounding Wolff's past and present self as we learn how he copes with autism since childhood. But at the same time, Dubuque tries too hard to engage his viewers with too many flashbacks and subplots. It doesn't help either when Gavin O'Connor's direction tends to underwhelm at most parts. At two hours long, the pace is erratic and even suffers from heavy exposition. Case in point is an unnecessarily overlong scene involving Ray King's repetitive past being a federal officer. Then, there is the disappointing third act. Shot entirely in low light, it's difficult to appreciate all the martial arts action and gunfights throughout the climactic finale. Not to mention, Wolff's inevitable showdown with Brax ends with a whimper.

If only O'Connor knows how to trim most of the fats within the bloated storyline, THE ACCOUNTANT would have been a solid action thriller. Frankly, I wouldn't mind if the movie tries to mesh with complexity. But too much of that without a proper care hurts the credibility of the movie.

Ben Affleck brings tremendous acting values to his eponymous character, but THE ACCOUNTANT suffers heavily from a bloated yet overlong narrative that prevents the movie from reaching its true potential. 

* This review is written courtesy from Warner Bros. Malaysia press screening *

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