Ben Affleck does a fine job as Wolff making us believe that this is a man who can both solve complex mathematical problems and dispatched trained killers with ease
He’s an uptight rude kind of accountant for hire, all suits and ties with no eye contact. Maybe, just maybe, he’s also a hit man because he slaughters evildoers by the dozens. As I said, I nodded off, and e at the end and I missed it.
What I DID watch was a more or less ordinary action movie. It could have been Steven Seagal. He beats the crap out of those with no morals and shoots their brains out. Those we see him kill are all bad guys who work for the head honcho, John Lithgow, whose roles lately have tended towards villainy. The reason Affleck kills these guys is that he’s discovered some high-echelon scheme to skim money out of a robotics firm, and Lithgow, who now runs the business, wants the secret kept, so Lithgow kills everyone who might try to help Affleck finding out what, or who, is under the rock.
That includes the winsome young secretary, Anna Kendrick, who is precisely half Affleck’s height. After he saves her, the director mistakenly allows her to become angry, shouting at Affleck, while he shuffles nervously around his trailer with a gun in his hand. She’s in a position to know better than to do that. But later, when he puts them up in a gilded hotel room, she puts moves on him. He avoids the engagement by repeating some distracting childhood rhyme and sliding away from her.
It’s a difficult binary role: arid accountant or superman. Affleck handles it surprisingly well. One or two of the supporting players also are satisfying. J. K. Simmons and Cynthia Addai-Robinson are both outstanding as a team from the Treasury Department trying to track down «the accountant.»
They hadn’t banked on a mere accountant being proficient in martial arts and a crack shot
What the movie appears to be is «Rain Man,» in which the autist is yanked out of a light-hearted comedy, turned into an invulnerable Robocop and thrust into an ordinary action movie. As an action movie, it gets the job done, but the underlying message, if there is one, is a little worrisome.
Do the people who greenlighted this production expect us to ADMIRE Affleck’s life style, his philosophy, such as it is? Are they trying to tell us to MAN UP? Should we think more of ourselves if we were able to decapitate someone with a .50 caliber sniper’s weapon at 200 yards? If so, I’m content to be a Nietschean weakling. I’m too tired to beat anyone up.
Christian Wolff is an autistic savant with a skill for numbers. His clients are among the most disreputable criminals and now he is in the sights of Ray King, the director of Treasury Department’s the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. Looking for a more reputable client Wolff takes a job investigating an accounts discrepancy at a robotics company. He quickly finds that there is indeed a problem but his contract is terminated after the ‘suicide’ of the company’s Chief Financial Officer. Soon both he and Dana Cummings, the company accountant who first suspected something was wrong, are targeted by killers. it isn’t long before they are the hunted.
This is a solid action thriller with some interesting characters. Anna Kendrick was solid as Dana; it was refreshing to have a film like this where there is no romance between the leading man and leading woman. The rest of the cast are good too; notably J. K. Simmons as Director King, Cynthia Addai-Robinson as analyst Marybeth Medina and John Lithgow who runs the company Wolff investigates. The use of flashbacks to show Wolff’s childhood, and how he came to possess his skills were entertaining and made the character more believable. There are plenty of action scenes; these are all well handled with a dynamism that keeps things exciting. The final twist was perhaps a little too far-fetched but it didn’t reduce my enjoyment of the film. Overall well worth watching if you enjoy action films with a decent plot.