Accountable Movie Review
Written by Hamzah Sarwar
Written and directed by Matthew Heaven
2017, 74 minutes, Not Yet Rated
Frightfest world premiere 25th August 2017
Oliver Towner as Warren
Lizzie Davis as Emma
Sam Kacher as Greg
Robert Elridge as Arnold Becker
Matthew Heaven’s nosedive into the workings of a fractured mind is given flight by Oliver Towner’s tremendous lead performance. It’s a turn of immense poise and vulnerability that injects a surge of immediate potency into this magnificent feature debut. Reverberations of the past can be felt rumbling beneath the surface, Heaven’s able to juxtapose an explosive revenge saga in tune with a more meditative reflection on coming to terms with the past. Accountable transpires as a finely poised character study with real heart and wrestles with the fundamental human question of karma. The tagline reads ‘the things you do come back to you’, it’s this mantra which will cause much internal debate when the screen fades to black. It’s a heart-pounding finale that gets the adrenaline flowing but also asks challenging and uncomfortable questions to the viewer. An eye for an eye or let the universe take its revenge? It’s a rare feat for a first-time director to achieve and it cements Heaven as one to watch.
Warren is an under-performing office hand with anger management issues. He has the look of a man with the weight of the world on his shoulders ready to snap at any minute. Crucially there’s no reason given for his social awkwardness, hot headed temperament or for his lonely existence in a flat drinking alone at night. He’s just mad. And at face value, his colleagues judge him to be a social outcast, a loser unable to cope with the demands of an office job. With his conniving boss (Stefan Boehm) and nemesis, Greg (Sam Kacher), desperately orchestrating schemes to rid themselves of his presence. It's only colleague, Emma (Lizzie Davis), who sees beyond face value and sees more than a pent-up disaster waiting to happen. When Warren is finally coerced out of his job, it floods the brain with that red mist and unleashes a vengeful act of retribution.
With life taking a turn for the worse, Warren agonises but eventually seeks the services of local psychiatrist, Arnold Becker (Robert Eldridge), to tackle the anger issues that have caused him to lash out. The episodic encounters with Becker drip feed parts of Warren’s life and feelings but there’s always the sense he’s holding back. As his relationship with Emma blossoms, there’s a wonderful montage of re-discovery and intimacy where it appears colour has returned to life and things are on the up. As Warren reconnects with the world around him, there’s a devastating visit to his grandma who is suffering in hospital and hasn’t had a visitor in years. On the final visit to the psychiatrist the penny finally drops. And it makes the sound loud enough to waken IT from years of slumber. It’s a startling revelation that is brought to screen in a brilliantly cinematic moment that will live long in the memory.
Made on a micro-budget of just ten thousand pounds, Accountable is a real surprise that punches massively above its weight. The religious and philosophical questions it poses are challenging to answer. After all, can revenge really silence the demons of the mind? Many would argue after seeing this that it could go long away in doing so.