The Accountant is a mixed bag. I was initially really excited for this after seeing the debut trailer. This trailer is one of my favorites for the year, but I quickly became cautious with this film because Warner Bros. marketed the crap out of it. Oftentimes, when a film is marketed as much as Warner Bros. marketed this, it means that the film is not great and the distributor is trying to hype up opening weekend sales because chances are the sales will drop drastically after the word gets out. Additionally, Warner Bros. is on some kind of cold streak, and sadly that (mostly) continues here. Actually, this film is decent. But for me, decent is disappointing, because I was hoping for so much more.
The huge marketing campaign focused around #WhoIsTheAccountant. Warner Bros. was wise to focus on this aspect of the film, because it is its best part. The first 45 minutes or so of the 128-minute film are by far the most interesting as we discover, in tandem with the characters around him, I might add, who the accountant really is. The film does a good job giving us only bits and pieces of his past through periodic flashbacks, but this is where its first fault lies. The film is constantly trying to one-up itself. Each new revelation has to be bigger than the last one. This torpedoed the film in its final act, as the last big “twist” is totally ridiculous and unbelievable, contrasting against everything else we had seen in the film to that point. The film also stumbles in its delivery of two major story lines. The FBI story line is completely ridiculous and frustratingly squanders the ability of J.K. Simmons, (which is criminal—you cannot waste one of the most talented character-actors ever like this) and the talented Anna Kendrick is wasted in a role that can simply be described as “the girl who falls for the guy.” Heavy sigh.
While these faults are pretty glaring, there are other silver linings in this film. For one, it is quite funny. I think a few times I laughed at times I wasn’t supposed to, but there are a few good lines scattered about to keep you entertained. Ben Affleck is pretty good too. Not great, but good. Don’t worry, though. His Oscar contender is still coming later this year in Live by Night. Simmons, despite his limited role, steals the show. Despite a weak story line, in the one scene where he’s asked to do some actual acting, he kills it and singlehandedly makes this scene my favorite scene of the film—and everyone else’s favorite scene from the film in the theater. Trust me. If you do go see it, you’ll know what scene I’m talking about. Ultimately, though, the biggest fault of this film is that it’s safe. It is a very ordinary film; I found myself asking “is that it?” when the credits rolled. The main story line is fine but by no means super-captivating, and if your film’s main story line isn’t captivating, you aren’t going to make it very far—especially when there is nothing of note to say in terms of cinematography, editing or costumes. Even the score and musical selections are forgettable, and that’s one area that Warner Bros. usually gets right. I would say your money is better spent on something else. Netflix it, perhaps, when that day comes.