“It is a tale. Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

— Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Ben Affleck has finally given up and gone full Jason Bourne. Ben has tried and tried to be a full blown-out star like his childhood buddy Matt Damon. Ben isn’t a bad actor. A lot of girls love him. He’s just unlucky.

But now Ben has decided to give the Bourne trick a try, and here in “The Accountant” it almost works. Almost.

In this very long and complicated semi-action tale directed by Gavin O’Connor (“Warrior,” “Tumbleweeds”), Ben becomes Christian Wolff, a seemingly boring accountant who works out of a one-room strip mall office in what appears to be Waukegan, Illinois, where he helps simple, poor folks stay ahead of the IRS.

If you’ve seen the previews, you may have guessed this is a front. You’re so smart. In real life, Christian — nobody calls him Chris because he’s so straight — has a Supercuts’ hair cut, wears Wal-Mart glasses and a pocket clip of pens, dresses in the same off-the-rack black suit, white shirt and dark tie all the time. In other words, an accountant.


So you may suspect that this is kind of like that Clark Kent getup, right? And you know how that turned out.

In reality, Christian is so much more. We learn that our hero’s night job is as a super, world-class accountant for some of the most evil and powerful guys and gals on the planet, dictators on the order of Jose Eduardo dos Santos of Angola, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain, and possibly Putin and Donald Trump.

What makes him different? Christian is an obsessive compulsive genius with “high functioning autism,” a pain freak and mathematics “Rain Man” who eschews junk food, keeps his food separated and blows on his fingers before touching anything. We all have someone in our family like that.

Like Jason Bourne, he has a drawer at home full of cash, different passports, one drawer full of solid gold bars, a stunning arsenal of weapons and, hold on, a real Jackson Pollock and Renoir hanging on the walls.

We learn that Jason, I mean Christian, is a proficient assassin skilled in all the martial arts who has been trained in death dealing by his Army Ranger father since he was 10. (I won’t give any more away on that.) Christian, who speaks in whispers, works out of a simple home, but not really. He actually lives in an Airstream Classic travel trailer in his garage. You’ll have to see it to believe it.

In order to keep his cover as plain Joe Blow number crusher, Christian occasionally takes high-paid, soft, fill-in jobs, like this one for a robotics company owned by Lamar Black (John Lithgow), and is assigned to find flaws in the company books. When Christian and his hired assistant Dana Cummings (the teeny Anna Kendrick who has little to do) find more than they intended, they fall out of favor with the boss, who sets a team of assassins to take them out.

This team of killers has no idea what they’ve let themselves in for, and that’s where the movie gets up off the floor and starts moving and where, piece by piece enlightened with backstory flashbacks and dozens of dark hall shootouts, the movie gets to be kind of fun.

What’s good about the movie? J.K. Simmons’ Ray King as a Treasury chief, who actually has an interesting backstory, Emmy winner Jeffrey Tambor’s Francis Silverberg as a chess master languishing in prison, and the impressive skills of cinematographer Seamus McGarvey and Richard Pearson’s editing. These are both masters of making you pay attention when you want to nap in the first 40 minutes. Also, the work of Jon Bernthal, an amazing actor in a mysterious role. We’ll hear more about Jon, who will eventually get a better part in a serious movie that will put him on the map.

J.P. Devine is a former stage and screen actor.

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