You know those movies where you watch the trailer and expect to see what you saw in the trailer, but then you see the movie and realize “Wow, that trailer did NOT represent what happens in the movie at all”? The Accountant is one of those movies.
From the trailer, you’d think The Accountant was a story about a brilliant, socially-isolated man who uses his math prowess to run the books for major crime syndicates and manages to keep coming out on top without ever getting caught by the feds. Almost like a Catch Me If You Can without the humor. You wouldn’t be wrong in thinking that. But the thing is…there are about three more plots on top of that in this movie: a robotics company embroiled in corporate espionage, a family drama about living with autism, and a story about a young federal analyst trying to make her way through the government without her past coming back to haunt her.
The phrase “Jack of All Trades, Master of None” applies extremely well to this movie because it tries to accomplish so much in its two-hour runtime, yet it can’t seem to do any of its ideas justice. In fact, The Accountant is almost masterful at distracting you from the weak story with its sterile cinematography, tight action-focused shots, solid performance from Ben Affleck (who plays the titular character), and general aura of mystery. But after two cheesy plot reveals—one in the climax and one in the final scenes—and some reflection time, it’s easy to see the plot gaps and lack of resolution.
If The Accountant didn’t have Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, John Lithgow, J.K. Simmons, Jeffrey Tambor, Jean Smart, Jon Bernthal, and Cynthia Addai-Robinson—whose performances are basically the substance of this movie—I doubt we’d even be giving it the time of day. But it’s at least a movie that you wouldn’t hate yourself for watching on a Sunday afternoon when you have nothing else to do.
On a final note, it’s weird how much The Accountant feels like a Batman movie. Of course, there’s no suit, no Gotham, and no comic book tie-ins (though there is a scene where Affleck’s character grabs an Action Comics). But a rich, socially-isolated, weapons-stocked crime fighter with his own moral code, a British handler, serious mommy and daddy issues, and the jacked body of a man who just finished shooting Batman v. Superman—I mean, come on. That’s Batman. A Batman who’s really good at math, but a Batman nonetheless. Tell me if you get the same vibe after watching this.
The Accountant: B-
Listen to my review of The Accountant on “Pat & JT in the Morning” here (at 27:34).