'The Accountant' has confusing twists

'The Accountant' stars Ben Affleck as an autistic math whiz accountant with lethal martial arts skills. The film co-stars Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons, Jeffrey Tambor, and John Lithgow.

Chuck Zlotnick/Warner Bros. Pictures/AP
'The Accountant' stars Ben Affleck (l.) and Anna Kendrick (r.).

Some movies are so preposterously awful that they become classics of a kind. “The Accountant,” starring Ben Affleck as an autistic math whiz accountant who has lethal martial arts skills, could be such a movie. Did I mention that he also specializes in fixing the books of criminal kingpins?

This probably sounded like a surefire idea for a franchise, but there are so many plot twists that the narrative comes to resemble a Möbius strip. That wouldn’t be so bad if at least the twists made a modicum of sense.

As a way to compensate for his condition, Affleck’s Christian Wolff was raised by his martinet military father to become a fighting machine. Because the combo of computational genius and killing skills is irresistible to the bad guys, Christian’s services are in high demand.

[Editor's note: The original version of this review misstated the role played by Jon Bernthal in "The Accountant."

When he finds himself doing the books for a high-tech robotics corporation, the missing $70 million in the company ledger triggers an onslaught of lethal action sequences that, alas, are as generic as the film’s premise is not.

Affleck plays Christian as a slablike, near-mute recluse. Anna Kendrick is the wallflower robotics accountant who takes a shine to him. Other good actors turn up, including J.K. Simmons, Jeffrey Tambor, and John Lithgow – none to best advantage, to put it mildly.

Director Gavin O’Connor and screenwriter Bill Dubuque have made a textbook example of the "what were they thinking?" movie genre. Judging from the befogged look on some of the actors’ faces, they must have been wondering the same thing. Grade: C- (Rated R for strong violence and language throughout.)

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