‘Sooner or later, different scares people…’
Ben Affleck is a polarizing actor. The shit storm that accompanied his casting as Batman is testament to that. Rightly or wrongly, his long-time cohort Matt Damon, is much more universally loved. Perhaps it was this knowledge that influenced Affleck to take on a role that combines two of Matt Damon’s most memorable characters.
In The Accountant, Affleck plays Christian Wolff. A maths savant like Will Hunting and a cold-blooded killer like Jason Bourne. The difference is that Wolff is severely autistic so finds it difficult to express himself emotionally. This side of the story is obviously ripe for exploitation but it is handled sensitively and cautiously. Wolff’s autism is always another piece in an elaborate jigsaw rather than a defining personality trait.
Affleck is flanked by an excellent supporting cast. Anna Kendrick is a wonderful actress whose easy on screen presence is always welcome. She is somewhat wasted here though in a role that starts off as being quite promising but ends up being underdeveloped and forgettable. J.K. Simmons, John Lithgow and Jeffrey Tambor are three wonderful, old, white, bald men that I always get confused with each other, so to have them all appear in one film was a little off putting. These white people all look the same though right? All three are brilliant actors but aside from Simmons they are never really utilized properly.
This is the overriding criticism of The Accountant. The ingredients are all there for a delicious Affleck soup but director Gavin O’ Connor never quite finds the right recipe. There is still enough here to make this an enjoyable film but it could have been so much more. Whether you are a fan of Affleck or not, he has deserved his career renaissance, both in front and behind the camera, and The Accountant is yet another positive in a career that has completely turned round.