Christian Wolff (Affleck) is a small-time accountant who deals in dangerous money laundering and book keeping for criminal organisations. But when Treasury agent Raymond King (Simmons) starts to hunt him down, Wolff has to violently fight his way out of trouble.
It’s an incredibly messy and convoluted film; the plot is all over the place. It starts off as a good old fashioned and easy to follow game of cat and mouse, but descends into something far too complex. As a result, the two hour film is pulled beyond the point of real satisfaction. Despite the high body count and feverish detective work, it drags badly.
It also strives miserably for tense moments which don’t involve lots of guns, something which made Gavin O’Connor’s 2011 film Warrior so fantastic. In Warrior, the tension and strain was based in its characters, and was only supplemented by the violence. You have little idea why the characters do what they do and you can’t help but wonder why on earth any of them are fighting half the time.
But there is some praise to be given. The whole cast put in a decent performance, especially Affleck. His performance as an autistic adult, before he gets sucked into the whole fighting thing, is remarkably sensitive and low-key.
Many of the aspects of Wolff’s character are remarkably sensitive. His representation from his time as a child to having a fully functioning adult life is a positive spin on neurological disorders, although this is somewhat skewed by his alternative image as a cold-blooded killer.
And the fight scenes, when they come, are fairly impressive. There is no lulling in the action and all the fights are informed by Indonesian martial arts which Wolff trained in as a child (because that’s what you do with autistic children, apparently).
However, the great action and favorable performances are cursed with a jam packed storyline, a lack of suspense and, more broadly, some poor decision making. Maybe Affleck was better off in the Bat-cave after all…
Image: Elen Nivrae; Flickr