Way back in the 1950s, legendary director Alfred Hitchcock explained otherwise inexplicable sequences in his hit films Vertigo and North by Northwest by terming them “icebox” scenes – in that the illogic of them only “hits you after you’ve gone home and start pulling cold chicken out of the icebox.”
An argument could be made (and, in fact, is being made right now) that The Accountant — directed by Gavin “Warrior” O’Connor, written by Bill “The Judge” Dubuque, and starring Ben “The Batman” Affleck – is an entire icebox movie.
At first, the staggering illogic of the plot and main characters is disguised by those great cinematic scotch tape tropes of flashbacks and dream sequences, which permeate the film like so much asbestos.
But as the hundred and twenty-eight minute movie churns on, the “wait-a-minutes” multiply (despite some truly nifty action sequences coordinated by Sam “Suicide Squad” Hargrave) until I realized that absolutely nothing actually made sense.
Many of the secondary characters (Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons, Jeffrey Tambor) are fine, but the story they are forced into is a) absurd, b) contradictory, c) irreconcilable, or d) all of the preceding. It doesn’t help that, as the brain-straining twists wind on, the characters are forced to simply stop the forward momentum and just explain them to each other.
Even Affleck’s Accountant – an Asperger-afflicted expert, who much of the movie labors to create and flesh out in ways wildly reminiscent of Dexter and John Wick – has motivations, relations, and antagonists that are so inconsistent that the entire cinema turned into an icebox.
Ultimately, someone who could sell steaks to vegans couldn’t get me to swallow the very core of the plot, which requires someone to do something so out of character and unnecessary that it beggars description.
The Accountant strains for high drama but trips over its own plot twists, then ultimately staggers into low comedy. But still, it wasn’t as bad as Jack Reacher Never Go Back.