The Accountant (2016)

(Video On-Demand, January 2017) “Jason Bourne meets Rain Man” is just about the laziest way to describe The Accountant, but it sort-of-works at explaining the high concept at the heart of the movie—an autistic man officially working as a top-notch accountant who happens to be unusually skilled at assassination. Cue the complications. Ben Affleck is surprisingly effective as the titular character—it takes a lot of charisma to make an affectless character sympathetic, and it works for him. Anna Kendrick is cute enough in a generic role, but the film sort of loses interest in her character after a while, leaving her more or less out of the third act and never making her a love interest. There is a quirkiness to The Accountant that’s not to be dismissed—after all, how many movies manage to make forensics accounting seem thrilling? But as an action thriller, it’s more or less forgettable once we’re back to the action classics of guys shooting at each other. The distinctiveness of the film is found in their quieter moments, even though the treatment of autism is old-hat by now. There are a few plausibility problems in how a wandering assassin (ready to move away at a moment’s notice) could sustain a living in a profession such as accounting, but never mind—from the premise on, it’s obvious that The Accountant isn’t meant to take place in reality. It does offer a new (ish) kind of hero, though, and that’s already more than most other big-budget thrillers these days.

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