The Ticket (2016)

  • Time: 97 min
  • Genre: Drama
  • Director: Ido Fluk
  • Cast: Dan Stevens, Malin Akerman, Oliver Platt, Kerry Bishé


A blind man who regains his vision finds himself becoming metaphorically blinded by his obsession for the superficial.


  • The Ticket, the compelling sophomore effort from Ido Fluk, unfolds as a modern-day parable of a man who suddenly finds himself in fortune’s favour only to abandon the satisfactions of his seemingly simple life for irresistible temptations. A visually engaging and psychologically intriguing, if a bit ploddingly placed, the film serves as a rich showcase for former Downton Abbey star Dan Stevens, who has had quite the year with the commercial success of Beauty and the Beast and the critical hosannas of FX’s Legion.

    The Ticket begins in near darkness, shards of hazy light blotting the screen, never quite coming into focus as James (Steven) and his wife Samantha (Malin Akerman) softly murmur to one another. Their warm and affectionate voices make clear that they, along with young son Jonah (Skylar Gaertner), are a blessed family. Despite being blind since youth, James’ gratitude for his life is abundant as evidenced by his daily prayer: “I am deeply satisfied with life and everything in it, I live for today and enjoy what I do.”

    One day, he awakens to discover that his sight has returned. There’s a scientific explanation – the pituitary tumour that has been pressing against his optic nerve has shrunk – but one may as well call it a miracle. Or is it a curse? With sight comes dissatisfaction and craving as James begins to realise the limitations of his previous life. Soon he’s outgrowing his job as a telemarketer, his blind best friend and co-worker (Oliver Platt), and his wife as he becomes the golden boy at his real estate company and takes on sexy colleague Jessica (Kerry Bishé) as his lover. Stevens navigates the inescapably abrupt character shift with deftness, filling in the blanks of Fluk and co-writer Sharon Mashihi’s screenplay with strong yet subtle character work.

    Equally fine is Akerman, whose character arc is arguably the more intriguing of the two. In many respects, she intuits how his regained sight may be problematic from the start. Watch her initial reaction again once James reveals he’s able to see – it’s not shock borne out of surprise, it’s shock borne out of horror because, as he later understands, she liked that he was blind because she could take care of him. Part of it may stem from the way she views herself – she keeps her body hidden from him when she changes, she jokingly frets that she’ll have to put a little more effort in how she looks – part of it may be that she’s so used to looking after him and dealing with every aspect of their lives. Fluk demonises neither husband nor wife – it’s clear from the last dance they share that they are still deeply in love with one another but they simply cannot overcome this change in their marriage.

    Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans’s sinister yet wistful score understands the couple’s dilemma as much as it foretells the darker turns James’ life takes. Cinematographer Zachary Galler provides alternately warm and distancing visuals, a dichotomy that ultimately prevents the film from being wholly satisfying. Despite the excellent effort from Stevens and the rest of the cast, there’s a coldness, a formality to the proceedings that prevents one from fully connecting with the film.

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  • “If you leave, you can’t come back.”

    How would you react when you lose your eyesight at a young age, leaving you the rest of your life depending on others, never having seen your wife and child, with no idea how your environment looks like and working for a real estate company as a blind in a Call center for a real estate company (in other words, a hopeless job). And then one day you wake up and you realize you can see again. I’m convinced that it’ll be a shock. Finally you can see how attractive your wife is and at the same time find out she’s a real control freak. You discover you have a cute little son who’s being bullied at school for some time and you’re wife never told you about it. And the house you live in looks quite dusty and old fashioned with that flower wallpaper. And on top of that, you are satisfied because you see a pretty attractive guy when looking in the mirror. Time to shape up and become the better flirt, I’d say.

    This all sounds quite plausible. But James (Dan Stevens) turning into an arrogant, egocentric jerk who only wants to enrich his personal life and get that promotion as soon as possible so that he can improve his materialistic life, felt a little exaggerated to me. Sorry, but the first thing I would do was to go to a zoo, an amusement park or the cinema for example, so I could admire what I missed all those years. But no. James rather starts an ego trip, forsaking those who supported him all these years. A beautiful example of someone who exchanged his physical blindness for a total emotional blindness.

    The question is, of course, whether this was a natural healing or a divine intervention. James’ daily prayer, with him thanking the Lord for his rich life full of well-meaning people, perhaps finally paid off. Maybe that’s the reason why he came up with this luminous idea to convince people in church to sell their homes right now and get rid of everlasting debts. In his sales talk, he always uses the story about the person who desperately wants to win the lottery and prays for it every day. But he never buys a lottery ticket. I think the message is as follows : if you want to change your life, you also need to act in such a way that this change is possible. In my opinion, James is convinced he has won that winning ticket, after piously praying for years. But the actions he undertakes afterwards, are dramatically exaggerated in my opinion.

    And how unlikely the turnaround is at the beginning, the more unlikely the turnaround is at the end. Eventually, it seemed the winning ticket was only valid temporarily. Or was it a divine punishment because James let the dark side of his personality dominate? Anyway, I saw the outcome coming a mile away (pun not intended). Personally, I thought the footage where nothing was to be seen, the most fascinating. An impression of how James looked at the world. A black spot with stroboscopic light effects and misty reflections. A successful demonstration of how a blind person experiences his sight. The most emotional moment was the turning point in the dusty dance cafe where James dances one last time with his wife Sam (Malin Akerman) intimately. Despite the artistic character, the many dead moments and the slow pace, Dan Stevens and Malin Akerman know how to give a lively and fascinating performance. “The ticket” won’t be a blockbuster like “Beauty and the Beast”, but will show a glimpse of Dan Stevens’ versatility.

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