Ac­coun­tant

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - PREVIEW -

be­comes de­ter­mined to pro­tect.

“The Ac­coun­tant” is mildly charm­ing as Dana and the awk­ward Chris­tian spend time to­gether, Af­fleck and Ken­drick (“Pitch Per­fect 2,” “Mike and Dave Need Wed­ding Dates”) en­joy­ing a usual if pleas­ant on-screen chem­istry. Chris­tian ex­plains that he’d like to be able to be closer to some­one but finds it very dif­fi­cult, and she looks at him with sym­pa­thetic eyes.

Un­for­tu­nately, as the story pro­gresses, we get less of Ken­drick’s Dana and more of a vi­o­lent mer­ce­nary played by Jay Bern­thal who is hired to deal with Chris­tian. While Bern­thal — an alum of “The Walk­ing Dead” who por­trayed The Pu­n­isher in the sec­ond sea­son of Net­flix’s “Dare­devil” — is fine in the role, his char­ac­ter proves to be one more puz­zle piece “The Ac­coun­tant” doesn’t re­ally need.

But the end, the script by Bill Dubuque (“The Judge”) is re­veal­ing pieces you didn’t even know were miss­ing from the puz­zle. Worse, “The Ac­coun­tant” re­lies too heav­ily on flash­backs. The scenes pep­pered through­out the film that take us back to Chris­tian’s child­hood and ex­plain how he be­came who he is are, for the most part, tol­er­a­ble. How­ever, a lengthy flash­back in the home­stretch in­volv­ing Ray all but saps the mo­men­tum of the story.

Giv­ing fully into that sto­ry­telling de­vice is the only real sin com­mit­ted by O’Con­nor (“Mir­a­cle,” “War­rior”). Amaz­ingly, he gives “The Ac­coun­tant” the per­fect tone; it takes its ridiculous story just se­ri­ously enough while giv­ing us enough hu­mor to keep things rea­son­ably light.

The num­bers may not add quite up, but “The Ac­coun­tant” is an en­ter­tain­ing equa­tion we may never have seen be­fore — or ever will again.

CHUCK ZLOTNICK — WARNER BROS. PICTURES VIA AP

In this im­age re­leased by Warner Bros. Pictures, Ben Af­fleck ap­pears in a scene from “The Ac­coun­tant.”

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