Friday, October 14, 2016
As if putting a puzzle together, the film keeps adding pieces that seem random and unrelated at first, but are supposed to fall into places once the puzzle gets resolved.
As its first puzzle piece, the film opens with a murder scene of a multiple victims. Then immediately it cuts into another puzzle piece with a child with Asperger's syndrome, while his brother looking over quietly.
That child was Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck ), now an accountant and a loner that executes his daily routines with impeccable precision, including how he parks his car into his garage every day. But that appears to be just on the surface. He is under government surveillance for on suspicion of money laundering in connection with terrorists and the mafia. Raymond King (J. K. Simmons), a director of the Financial Crime Unit in the Treasury Department, asks one of his staff Marybeth Medina (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) to hunt him down.
Meanwhile, following tips from a whistleblower Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick) at a robotics company, Christian is hired by the company's CEO Lamar Black (John Lithgow) to look for irregularity of the company's finance. What he discovers triggers a series of events that spin out of control.
The exercise of putting pieces together for a puzzle is often exhausting and time consuming, certainly challenging. It requires a lot of patience and great attention to details. The director Gavin O'Connor certainly has plenty of both. But what if some of the pieces are missing? He might still be able to put together something with a vague image that looks impressive, but that image won't look right if you come closer. That's what the director is dealing with—an implausible plot that is full of preposterous puzzle pieces.
Doesn't background check count for anything for federal employment? How can Marybeth Medina lie about her arrest record? Furthermore, how in the world can her boss use that to blackmail her into doing some legitimate work? If Christian is labeled as being inept in communicating with others, his warmth toward some characters says otherwise. The film's references to mathematicians regarding accounting practice are plain laughable. The violence in the film is purely for the sake of marketing this movie as an action thriller. And casting of pitchy voiced Anna Kendrick is perhaps the funniest joke in the film.
Notwithstanding all that, Gavin O'Connor is a competent filmmaker who is known for creating mesmerizing characters such as those in "Warrior" (2011). With what he has got, including a fine performance by Ben Affleck, he is able to pull off a reasonably entertaining film, and it's definitely not an endorsement to the accounting profession.