I like Dogs Playing Poker. Because dogs would never bet on anything. So it’s incongruous.
The Accountant is an extremely weird movie. It boasts a really high-profile cast. Ben Affleck is the title character, an autistic accountant with super-skills at killing people; Anna Kendrick is the dorky young innocent who gets wrapped up in all the chaos; J.K. Simmons is the dogged government agent hot on the accountant’s heels; Jon Bernthal is a charming hitman; Jeffrey Tambor, John Lithgow & Jean Smart have smaller supporting roles. Everyone does their best, but the movie is just a mess. There are moments when it wants to be a serious exploration of autism; at one point, the movie grinds to a halt while a character gives a speech about autism that literally goes on for several minutes. Sometimes it wants to be a weird kind of rom-com while Affleck & Kendrick are on the run together; why exactly Affleck’s character is so dedicated to saving the life of the Kendrick character is never really explained. It wants to have really fun action sequences and then just a scene or two later have a likable character brutally tortured to death on screen. It has a twist that I saw coming ten minutes into the movie. Then, because that’s not enough, there’s another twist that is so godawfully stupid that I literally face-palmed. I can’t remember the last time I face-palmed unironically, but the twist happened and it just happened quite organically. There are some nice bits, mostly in the action sequences. There’s a cool scene where the Accountant and Bernthal’s hitman play a game of cat & mouse on a darkened street and a genuinely brilliant action sequence when Affleck and Kendrick take on several thugs in Kendrick’s apartment. But the movie is extremely long, often pretty stupid and tonally inconsistent basically from beginning to end. It’s a shame; like I said, great cast and the role actually plays to Affleck’s strengths. He often has a kind of overly placid distance in his performances and that really works with the character here; I’m tempted to say it’s actually his best performance. And J.K. Simmons in particular is wonderful; there’s a scene of at least five minutes of exposition that he just owns – no one but him could maintain interest over a conversation scene this long. Bernthal, until a late movie reversal, is a joy in just about every scene he’s in as an affable, constantly smiling hitman. The movie as a whole is odd, well-acted, poorly put-together and very inconsistent. Entertaining to a degree, but, man, also pretty bad at times. 2 ½ stars.
tl;dr – well-acted, but scattershot, The Accountant is entertaining, but can’t decide what kind of movie it wants to be and the sloppy, often stupid script doesn’t help matters. 2 ½ stars.