The Accountant must have seemed like a shrewd investment for Warner Bros, capitalising on both Ben Affleck’s newfound action stardom in the wake of Batman v Superman and, less directly, the success of John Wick. Affleck’s role here is pretty well a carbon copy of Keanu in JW, in that he kills people efficiently and rarely smiles. Except he’s traded Reeves’ love for puppies for a love for finance, which turns out be a net loss.
The Accountant isn’t a bad film, but it’s about 45 minutes too long to capture the brisk precision of John Wick. There’s too little action, and way too much backstory – it’s not just the interconnected web of flashbacks, but there’s an entire parallel Treasury narrative (starring JK Simmons and Cynthia Addai-Robinson) that only serves to flesh out Affleck’s mythology. Director Gavin O’Connor really should’ve taken a leaf from Keanu’s book and left things to the imagination.
There are some unlikely assets within this film’s portfolio, however, most notably its stabs of black humour. Affleck’s autistic accountant is a streamlined savant, but his blunt nature makes for some surprisingly effective punchlines – typically punctuated by a gunshot. On balance, your time could be better spent elsewhere.