In Theaters Now: The Accountant (2016)

Chris Wolff (Ben Affleck), an accountant, is functionally autistic.  The condition hampers his ability to interact with others in a meaningful way.  However, autism allows him to apply laser-like focus to any task.  In addition, he possesses a super-genius mathematical talent which he uses in solving the most daunting financial problems affecting various businesses.  Wolff’s unusual gifts facilitate his mastery of other skills…like murdering assailants with martial arts moves and shooting people a mile away.

Martial arts?  Sharpshooting?  Why in heaven’s name would an accountant need to know all of this?  It turns out that this particular accountant uncooks books for criminal organizations.  And it’s always good to know how to protect oneself.

The concept of autism as super power is intriguing, but it’s been done much better in previous movies.  For example, the excellent Girl With The Dragon Tattoo trilogy chronicles the adventures of Lisbeth Salander, an Asperger’s patient who uses her incredible math skills and martial arts expertise to overcome a variety of travails involving murder, espionage, conspiracy and the like.  Noomi Rapace (2009 Swedish version) and Rooney Mara (2011 English language version) both play Lisbeth as a complex, multifaceted character.  In contrast, actor Ben Affleck, displaying minimal affect, comes across as one-dimensional in the role of Chris Wolff.  In addition, there’s a denouement at the end of The Accountant that can be seen a mile away.

Although the action scenes in this film are pretty good, I would wait for the DVD to come out.  This is a stay-at-home popcorn show.

Plus:  J.K. Simmons is great as an FBI agent on the trail of Wolff.  Good action scenes.

Minus:  Ben Affleck’s one-dimensional performance, an obvious denouement, a shaky explanation for the title character’s criminal motives.

Cast:  Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons, Jeffrey Tambor, John Lithgow

Director:  Gavin O’Connor

Rating:  R (for violence)

Running time:  128 minutes

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