Death of the Critic

Why Did I Watch That? - The Accountant

Written by: Tom Blaich


I watched a bad movie today. It is sort of a guilty pleasure of mine. Watching bad movies that is. I revel in the terrible plots, paper-thin characters, cheesy effects, and wooden acting. It fuels me. I love them in a way that I can’t quite describe, or feel about bad games or music. To me, bad films deserve to be recognized, talked about, and maybe occasionally ridiculed. This one is no exception.

I wanted to step away from the norm here to talk a little bit about a movie that I watched this weekend.
The Accountant isn’t necessarily a bad movie, it is just a confused one, trying to make an autistic John Wick into a cartel accountant. In a lot of ways, the story doesn’t make sense, but the action is fairly well one, and I’m always a fan of Ben Affleck. I just had a hard time with a lot of this movie. It is funny, but it is rarely trying to be so.

Ben Affleck does a pretty good job at being deadpan and unemotional, but sometimes it just feels
off. He would say or do something and I honestly couldn’t tell if it was supposed to be a joke or not. It would take me out of the movie completely because even in the midst of more serious scenes, it’s kind of goddamn hilarious. This isn’t normally a bad thing, but the timing felt all wrong, and I never truly knew if I was laughing at the movie or with it.

It wasn’t a bad movie, and I actually kind of liked it, but it is a far cry from what I expected going in. Bogged down with unnecessary flashbacks and twists you can see coming a mile off, it is far from the smart action movie that the creators thought they were making. It is a dumb action movie where they tried to give an accountant autism-based superpowers that let him kick people really hard and shoot guns well. Add in an unfortunate amount of “intrigue” that they manage to mostly wrap up all in one quick conversation.

The good guys are perfect and the bad guys are cannon fodder, and if you go into it not expecting too much, it isn’t bad at all. They sweep all those nasty moral questions under the rug really quickly, and just expect you to ignore them. If you bought into the marketing, however, then you are going to be sorely disappointed.

Ben Affleck does a remarkably good at playing the quiet and awkward main character, but casting a gorgeous and charismatic actor as the opposite is a trope that I truly hate. It’s hard to buy him as the antisocial loner that nobody remembers or pays attention to and watching he and Anna Kendrick awkwardly flirt as a pair of outcasts that no one likes was hilarious in the weirdest way. It starts off promising and has an amazing action scene or two, but the finale is underwhelming and entirely too neat. It’s a movie caught between opposing forces, trying to decide if it’s a revenge story, or a character study, or a man seeking to right the wrongs that he’s done. This confusion is evident throughout, and it’s mirrored in how I felt when I walked away at the end. I think I liked it, but I’m not quite sure.



Tom has been writing about media since he was a senior in high school. He likes long walks on the beach, dark liquor, and when characters reload guns in action movies.

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