• by Wes Singleton

The Accountant - C+

Rated R, 128 minutes
There's the old saying "the numbers don't lie," yet can you really trust the people behind them? That's the premise of the modestly entertaining, yet muddled new action thriller "The Accountant," which may change your perception of the nerdy accountant type and keeping an eye out for those quiet ones. Directed by "Warrior's" Gavin O'Connor on a script from Bill Dubuque, it's well-acted but unevenly paced with a "John Wick"-style charm to it, yet filled with too many details and characters that don't advance the story enough, though it does present autism in a positive light. Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) is a mathematics austitic savant with more affinity for numbers than people. Using a small-town CPA office as a cover, he makes his living as a forensic accountant for dangerous criminal organizations. With a Treasury agent (Oscar-winner J.K. Simmons) hot on his heels, Christian takes on a state-of-the-art robotics company as a legitimate client. As Wolff gets closer to the truth about a discrepancy that involves millions of dollars, the body count starts to rise, he goes on the run with a special guest (Anna Kendrick, appealing but unnecessary). At its core, "The Accountant" tries to be too much: cat-and-mouse game, thriller, brilliant loner with special skills ala "John Wick" but works best as a dysfunctional family story, it just takes a little time to get there, as it lays out a nice first half before its excessive blood-and-bullets finale. While "Accountant" is hardly anything new, director O'Connor and a committed Affleck keep you engaged with some crowd-pleasing moments (the fight scenes are fun - nice seeing a geek take down the bad guys for once), and it's peppered with a strong supporting cast, including recent Emmy-winner Jeffrey Tambor along with superb character actors Jean Smart and John Lithgow, all in small but pivotal roles. However, even with all the well-known talent, the standout is a lesser-known but equally talented TV actor Jon Bernthal, known best for TV's "The Punisher" and "Walking Dead," memorable here as an equally tough, long-lost nemesis with clear issues of his own, and he and Affleck's final scene together, underneath all that blood, is actually touching. On the negative side, the film spends too much time on redundant, unnecessary backstory of other characters, and some of it, well, doesn't really add up, particularly the confusing cat-and-mouse aspect of it - is he really that difficult to catch - and while "The Accountant" has plenty of debits and credits, it has enough capital to return a decent investment of your time at the movies.

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