Director: Gavin O’Connor
I’m not really sure what I expected from this film. I’m not normally drawn to anything with Ben Affleck. Anyone who knows me or has read my BvS review will know I’m not Affleck’s biggest fan. That’s not to say all his movies are bad, they aren’t, just he’s not usually the reason they’re any good. When I saw the trailer I just felt this was something I could get into. The autism element of the story along with Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons and a welcome return for John Lithgow helped pull me in and, on top of all that, Jon Bernthal’s involvement meant there was guaranteed to be some sociopathic behaviour and some good action. For the most part all of this was true but in the end I was left feeling a little betrayed.
The film is set up using flashbacks to Christian Wolfe’s (Affleck) childhood with his family and his current day activities as a seemingly small time accountancy in a sleepy town. As you’d expect all is not as it seems and Wolf leads a double life uncooking the books for some of the most unsavoury individuals you could care to meet. This spikes the interest of the treasury department after agent Ray King survives a meeting with Wolfe some ten years earlier.
The flashback scenes deal with the relationships with his Mother, Father and brother as they come to terms with his autism. Despite the offers of professional help Wolfe’s army officer Father takes it upon himself to make his son “world ready”.
After a number of high-profile assignments Wolfe is advised to take on a case on a more legitimate level. Lamar Black’s (Lithgow) robotics company has some rather large cash discrepancies and Wolfe sets to work alongside Dana Cummins (Kendrick) the employee who discovered the anomalies. Wolfe is reluctant to work closely with anyone at all but he feels a connection with Dana. They begin to join the dots but are pulled away when a high level CEO seemingly commits suicide. This is a particularly hard on Black and even more so on Wolfe as he is not allowed to finish what he started. As this film earlier explains this is a huge problem for him in any environment. He pushes on but he knows both his and Dana’s life are in danger and he sets about his own escape plan.
The way all this set up is very well conceived, the film really took me in. Up to this point it was great cinema. Affleck wasn’t great but he was getting by and the use of the characters around him was well structured. Introduced one by one, they all took their places in the puzzle. There was good infrequent action and some of it was pretty brutal and indiscriminate. My big problem, and it was big for me, was that it just ran to such an underwhelming conclusion. I felt so underwhelmed and like the film had just given me a massive middle finger. It was good to see the elements of autism explored within the film but then the film seemed to forget it was a thriller. The connections it wanted you to make were so obvious and then it just faded out into the suggestion of a sequel, possibly even a franchise along the lines of making a Bourne type legacy that Affleck’s good friend Matt Damon has. I can’t tell you how let down I felt by the ending. By all means , if you want to make a series of films here then at least give them climaxes worthy of a notable thriller.
Verdict 2/5 Stars: The numbers added up too easily