At its core, the concept behind Ben Affleck’s (The Town) character is intriguing. Who, these days, wouldn’t be curious about a high-functioning autistic as a hit man/avenger? Affleck’s efforts in the role are good, if uneven at times. But how he got there, other than his fighting moves, is ignored, including some clearly important moments like how he ended up in prison.
If the story hadn’t focused on his origins, that would have been fine, but Dubuque’s (The Judge) script is full of flashbacks that are about who he is, where he came from, and why he does what he does. In the end, there are a lot of great elements in this tale, but the overall result is that the story itself is oddly empty and unexplained. O’Connor’s directing decisions on editing probably didn’t help; more than once there are leaps of logic that you need to squint through to accept.
But it wasn’t just plot that suffered. With a cast that included John Lithgow (Love is Strange), Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect 2), Jon Bernthal (Daredevil), and Jean Smart (Fargo), not to mention Jeffrey Tambor (Transparent) and JK Simmons (The Meddler)… how is it that I didn’t care a whit about any of them or their relationships? Talk about a waste of effort on their parts.
The movie isn’t a total loss, but it isn’t one you’re going to come back to after seeing it. It is a one-shot ride and without a lot to savor in the long term. It should have been more.