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 being an unfocused exercise.
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 packs a wallop and usually punctuated with humour.
The Accountant (MA)
Directed by: Gavin O’Connor
Starring: Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons
Three and a half stars
Review by: Julian Wright
In cinemas now