Magazine article Variety

The Accountant

Magazine article Variety

The Accountant

Article excerpt

The Accountant

Director: Gavin O'Connor

Starring: Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons

Say what you will about Ben Affleck as Batman or Jack Ryan or any number of other action heroes that have seemed to be a stretch for the boy-next-door star, but Affleck is a terrific fit for "The Accountant," in which he plays an autistic assassin. Though his choice in material is strong, the actor has always been a strange kind of thespian, one who seems so normal and non-actorly that most of his performances feel like watching one of your buddies up on screen, pretending to be someone he's not. Here, Affleck, who formerly drew the short end of the stick playing the dumb townie to Matt Damon's math savant, finally gets to embody the numbers whiz, and also to run around shooting some heavy-duty guns: It's like Will Hunting and Jason Bourne rolled into one, brains and bullets. What's not to love?

Based on a deliciously pulpy Black List screenplay by Bill Dubuque, "The Accountant" was one of those projects that admirers imagined would never get made - and maybe they had a point, seeing as how the script casually assumes that someone with Asperger's syndrome is potentially wired to become a ruthless killing machine. In the wrong hands, the screenplay could have been as controversial as Brian De Palma's "Dressed to Kill" was with the trans community. But in this film, director Gavin O'Connor ("Warrior") demonstrates the right way to handle such material, elevating what is essentially an exploitation movie into a Zen character study, one that takes its pound-of-flesh antihero seriously. …

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