Rain Man goes ballistic.
Rain Man meets Jason Bourne appears to be the dubious premise of this action thriller starring Ben Affleck as an autistic savant who’s a whiz at maths and a dab hand at killing people, too. Yet if you can handle the iffy basis and ludicrous plot then The Accountant does deliver its share of entertaining shoot-’em-up thrills.
Affleck’s solitary Christian Wolff (a lone wolf if ever there was) is on the high-functioning end of the autistic spectrum and he has found a niche occupation to suit his skills and limitations. A forensic accountant with a rather specialised clientele, he works for drug cartels, arms dealers, money launderers and the Mob. If anyone has been cooking their books, he’s the man who will find out.
He moves in dangerous circles, so it’s handy that he doesn’t just crunch numbers. Put by his martinet military dad through a punishing regime of combat training during his childhood, he is a crack shot and lethal unarmed fighter.
"A rare legitimate job"
These abilities come into play after he takes a rare legitimate job that turns out to have a crooked side. Called in to sort out a multi-million dollar discrepancy in the accounts of tech genius John Lithgow’s state-of-the-art robotics company, he finds himself up against a ruthless mercenary (Jon Bernthal) and his hired guns.
On top of this, he has additional snags and obstacles to overcome. Suspicious treasury agents JK Simmons and Cynthia Addai-Robinson are trying to uncover his identity. And he feels duty bound to protect the whistle-blowing accounting clerk, Anna Kendrick’s chipper Dana, who has ended up in the firing line.
Of course, as plots go, none of this exactly stands up to forensic scrutiny, but the film’s manifest flaws don’t detract from its incidental pleasures. Look out for the moments when Affleck’s hero blows on his fingertips. It’s the fussy obsessive-compulsive ritual he performs before he gets down to a task, whether it is demolishing a plateful of neatly arranged bacon and eggs or a platoon of mercenary killers.
Certificate 15. Runtime 128 mins. Director Gavin O'Connor
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A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.