Review: ‘The Ticket’ (2017)

The Ticket poster

The Ticket | Ido Fluk | April 7th, 2017

The Ticket starts off with one of the more interesting premises in recent memory. What would happen if suddenly you were cured of your blindness? How would you react to the visual information that’s been withheld from you for so long? The opening credits of The Ticket brilliantly puts you in the shoes of James (Dan Stevens). He has been blind for most of his life, and the credit sequence is shown with brief flashes of light and blurriness. He jokes and has a conversation with his wife Sam (Malin Akerman), and you get an idea of what James sees and hears every night while getting ready for bed. James awakes the next morning with his eyesight suddenly and inexplicably restored.

He is overcome with emotion and it provides the first of many great acting moments for Dan Stevens. Stevens is currently making a name for himself in Beauty and the Beast, as well as on FX’s Legion. He is a talented actor, and he plays James with a subtle intensity once he regains his sight. Other opening scenes fill in the blanks on James’ life before he was cured of his blindness. He is a happily married man who seems mostly content with his life. He has a young son, a modest home, and provides for his family by working a 9 to 5 sales job. Once he can see, however, he begins to pursue things that he’s secretly always desired. He starts caring about his looks, and begins to have some wild ambitions for his life.

The Ticket starts off intriguing enough. James has natural human reactions to seeing everything brand new for the first time. He is captivated by his wife’s beauty, and the film allows you to journey with him as he looks in awe of the world. The film doesn’t spend too much time in that honeymoon phase though. James soon begins to see how his wife might have been hiding little things from him when he was blind. Their experiences as a couple now feel entirely different to him. James wants to experience life through the visual now, instead of just being grateful that he can see at all.

Ido Fluk directs with a great visual style. Often bringing in dark shadows contrasted with blinding light, to give you a sense of always being in the dark a little bit. His direction is a little better than the script, which he also co-wrote with Sharon Mashihi. James turns into a conflicted character rather quickly. It’s somewhat understandable, but a lot of the tension is lost because of James’ quick and sometimes out of left field choices. It makes sense overall, but it just felt a little too neat. I would have preferred more subtle and drawn out scenes of James’ decent into superficiality. I also would have liked more moments between James and other characters.

The Ticket still - Malin Akerman and Oliver Platt

Oliver Platt plays ‘Bob’, a co-worker and good friend of James and his family. Bob is also a blind man and holds a certain resentment towards James being miraculously cured. Platt gives a good performance but is somewhat underused in his role. Malin Akerman also takes a backseat to the story once James begins to move up the food chain in his company. Kerry Bishe plays one of James’ supervisors, who he begins to have an attraction towards. Their dynamic soon begins to overtake the film, along with James’ drive to be a success at any cost.  It then becomes a story about James losing something else of himself – his soul. It’s hard to go more into the film without spoiling too much of it.

The central themes of blind ambition and not appreciating what you have take center stage here. These themes aren’t anything new in film, but the way they’re presented in The Ticket is fresh enough to make you not really notice. The dream-like state that flows through this movie perfectly captures James’ uneasiness and uncertainty about what his newfound sight means, and what exactly he’s supposed to do with it. Dan Stevens plays James as a confident man, but one with deep flaws and confused emotions.

The Ticket still - Dan Stevens and Kerry Bishe

It’s a brisk film at 97 minutes. The ending left me wanting a little bit more of a resolution, but it definitely had me captivated for the whole ride. It’s not a suspenseful film, but there is a certain un-ending dread that permeates through every scene. Overall it’s a decently made movie that I actually really enjoyed. It just felt too short, and sometimes I couldn’t really connect with James’ reasoning for his actions. On the surface level, it makes sense, but we just never really get inside his head. It’s a beautiful looking movie and one that might find a cult following. I can’t help but feel like it could have said a lot more though, thematically.

Rating: 7.4/10