The Ticket

In The Ticket, Dan Stevens plays a man, James, who is blind for the first few minutes of the movie. He has been blind for much longer than that, of course, but we only see him as a blind man for a few minutes. While he is blind though, he prays a short prayer of contentment. He is blind, but he is satisfied with his life. he thanks God for it.

Quickly, James regains his sight. His doctor says the tumor that had been pressing on the visual part of his brain has shrunk, so he can see again, but the doctor also says tumors don’t typically do that. James’ son asks him if that means his healing is a miracle. James says he guesses so. As James adjusts to living as a sighted person, he begins to be dissatisfied with his life, and he pursues signs of success at the expense of all else. My hunch is that his son wouldn’t see his father’s healing as a miracle by the time the film ends.

So The Ticket is a kind of fable about the perils of “blind” ambition. The moral of the story and the moral arc of the character are rather broadly drawn, as they typically are in fables, but the film itself isn’t “simple.” The various characters are sharply drawn, complicated, and acted with considerable nuance across the board. Cinematographer Zack Galler includes a lot of negative space in the frame throughout the film, which contributes a considerable anxiety to the narrative. And editor Phillip Kimsey keeps the film moving along at brisk clip. I suppose overall credit has to be given to director Ido Fluk for crafting such a taught little psychological drama out of this Aesopian material.

Overall, I admire The Ticket’s restraint. Where it would be natural to go a more cheesy, over-dramatic, or  over-sentimental route with this narrative, Fluk and his collaborators pull back and choose a more suggestive, symbolic way to communicate the emotional beat. For example, as James’ greed begins to get the better of him, his wife, Sam (Malin Ackerman), gives him an ultimatum, but rather than deliver this loudly and angrily, the film conveys sadness and resignation in that moment. It fits both her character and the overall emotional tenor of the film.

The Ticket is sure-footed at every step. It’s not a showy film. It’s competent, and it is content to be so. This shows it knows its own lesson, and it knows how to communicate it cinematically. It’s a better film than most of its type, and I recommend it.