No ac­count­ing for Arnie

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Film -

AS the phys­i­cally im­pos­ing and emo­tion­ally stunted autis­tic as­sas­sin who fan­cies firearms in The Ac­coun­tant, Ben Af­fleck gives off strong The Ter­mi­na­tor vibes.

Glid­ing through the film, speak­ing in­fre­quently and only in a mono­tone, Af­fleck ap­pears to be a per­fect can­di­date to slip into Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger’s time trav­el­ling shoes if Hol­ly­wood ever chose to do a com­plete re­boot of the sci-fi fran­chise.

For now, the Academy Award win­ner plays Chris­tian Wolff, a gifted math­e­ma­ti­cian and ac­coun­tant with a mil­i­tary back­ground whose clients in­clude crime lords.

When he is hired to go over the books of a ro­bot­ics com­pany, he un­cov­ers a ma­jor dis­crep­ancy, putting a tar­get on his back as well as that of as­so­ciate Dana Cum­mings (Anna Ken­drick).

Mean­while, Trea­sury Depart­ment di­rec­tor of fi­nan­cial crimes Ray­mond King (J.K. Sim­mons) re­cruits a young an­a­lyst with a dark past, Mary­beth Me­d­ina (Cyn­thia Ad­dai-Robin­son), to try to track the elu­sive ac­coun­tant’s move­ments.

With his hulk­ing frame, thanks to re­cently bulk­ing up as Bat­man, Af­fleck seems a big­ger phys­i­cal pres­ence on the sil­ver screen, yet his emo­tional range re­mains un­stretched.

His es­ca­lat­ing tal­ent be­hind the scenes as di­rec­tor on films such as Gone Baby Gone and Argo does not seem to have trans­lated with his act­ing.

Af­fleck is fine to watch but strug­gles to sug­gest any­thing is hap­pen­ing be­low the sur­face.

Like the lead per­for­mance, The Ac­coun­tant is a mixed bag.

Of­fer­ing some­thing dif­fer­ent on the fa­mil­iar hit­man story, giv­ing him a men­tal con­di­tion and play­ing with the struc­ture of the film, it ends up un­fo­cused.

Top-billed Ken­drick dis­ap­pears for half of the film and the sec­ond half stops dead in its tracks for King to de­liver about 20 min­utes of ex­po­si­tion.

Clock­ing in at more than two hours, it rarely feels like it though with short and sharp ac­tion scenes that pack a wal­lop and usu­ally punc­tu­ated with hu­mour.

Ben Af­fleck and Anna Ken­drick.

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