The Ticket (2016)

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

Storyline:

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

One review

  • 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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