Directed by Gavin O’Connor (Warrior) and written by Bill Dubuque (The Judge), The Accountant is the latest action-thriller movie starring Oscar-winning filmmaker and actor Ben Affleck (Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice), which seeks to to ride the current attention upon its leading man all the way to the bank. Centering around a small town public accountant who makes his living working undercover for various criminal enterprises, the movie sees Affleck taking on the character of an autistic man in a role that has turned a few heads – both in interest, and wariness.
The presence of Affleck and the pedigree of O’Connor, whose MMA drama Warrior was widely praised, meant that The Accountant appeared primed to pull some awards season buzz. Unfortunately, the latest word has early reviews of the film being less than glowing.
Ahead of the film’s official theatrical release this Friday, popular movie review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes has an early critical consensus rating for The Accountant situated at a disappointing 24%. While some saw fit to point out a few of O’Connor’s better intentions as a director, the film seems to have generally left reviewers underwhelmed. And yes, some of them couldn’t resist mentioning Affleck’s last movie.
Leah Greenblatt – Entertainment Weekly
“The whole thing’s ludicrous, down to the last loony twist, but it’s also a lot more fun than Batman v Superman.”
Todd McCarthy – THR
“By the time push comes to kill, the ingenuity – or perhaps it’s just cleverness – of the central concept has been reduced and abandoned for the sake of generic action moves.”
Michael Roffman – Consequence of Sound
“This 128-minute slog from Warner Bros. is not only as boring and forgettable as its yawn-worthy title suggests, it’s as messy and uneven as the studio’s recent slate ofblockbusters.”
Alonso Duralde – The Wrap
“A convoluted potboiler that dares you either to engage or to laugh at it. Engagement turns out to be easier than you might imagine.”
Peter Debruge – Variety
“O’Connor demonstrates the right way to handle such material, elevating what is essentially an exploitation movie into a zen character study, one that takes its pound-of-flesh antihero seriously.”
Whether or not general moviegoers will still be up for seeing The Accountant following such a poor start with critics remains to be seen; it’s possible that The Accountant will still be able to snag a couple of Oscar nominations, thanks to its subject matter. 2011’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, a drama about an autistic boy whose father is killed in the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks (thereby hitting a couple of big “Oscar bait” hooks) managed to score a Best Picture nomination despite disappointing reviews.
O’Connor wowed audiences in 2011 with the release of his taught mixed-martial arts drama Warrior, and Dubuque has likewise proved capable of drawing a crowd in the past with the release of his first major motion picture The Judge from 2014. Perhaps despite the advance criticisms levied at the film, moviegoers will decide to take a chance on The Accountant anyway, and Affleck will simultaneously manage to drum up some support and good will in preparation for his return to theaters later this December – with the release of his own awards season contender Live By Night.
The Accountant will see theatrical release in the U.S. on October 14, 2016.