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The eyes have long been one the more irresistible cinematic devices filmmakers lean on to shape a story, or at least use to support a theme, metaphorically serving as windows to the soul, agents of authority, or carriers of madmen transplanted surgically. With The Ticket, eyes are a familiar gateway once again in a film that explores the darker side of living with sight but not vision, so to speak, the trappings of vanity and superficiality.
James (Dan Stevens) has been blind all his life, now a young man with a lovely wife named Sam (Malin Akerman) and son. He wakes one morning to discover he has sight and it opens up a new world of possibilities but also a change in his personality as he learns his good looks and new ambition earn him a promotion and attraction from other women, including a co-worker named Jessica (Kerry Bishé), with whom he begins an affair, all of which threatens to ruin everything he has with Sam. But he’s not the only one with a fresh pair of eyes.
Written and directed by Ido Fluk, The Ticket, which alludes to story about the lottery told throughout the film, isn’t lacking for a message, beginning with James as a man of faith, praying nightly in thankfulness for all he has, even with his blindness before abandoning such practices when his eyes flicker back to life. Some call it a miracle, though a doctor offers a more practical explanation, but for James, it awakens something in him he never knew was there. His is a symbolic journey that has him tempted and twisted by the flavorful fruits of what lay literally just out of sight before but now are within his grasp. Naturally, the consequences are impactful. This includes his near rejection of the life he once had, betraying his friend and colleague (and blind man) Bob (Oliver Platt), who is more than content with his lot in life, feeling himself far more fortunate than many who suffer worse, something James has, if you’ll forgive the wording, lost sight of.
Certainly, James is on a familiar path and there are few surprises in the bends and hazards along the way, with even the end a fairly obvious destination, so that leaves the way there carrying the weight and for most of the movie, it’s kept compelling, mostly because Stevens makes for a convincing lead. His transformation from the dark to the light, which is revealed ironic as the meanings are clearly inverted by the time its over, make for a tragic story and Stevens has a few very good moments where truths and loss collide. Akerman is also very good, soft and subdued, making her own discovery in the shadow of her husband’s growth. But keep your eye on Platt, who does some of his best work yet.
It all recalls the pulpit though as Fluk makes no effort to hide the parallels as James sells his product and his soul so to speak in masterful displays of salesmanship, earning him promotions in his job and scorn from those he once called friends. While there is no keeping a secret as to where the story will end, Fluk weaves an aching tale of redemption that has its flaws but is nonetheless a poignant and lasting experience.
Movie description: The Ticket is a 2017 drama about a young blind man who, after regaining his sight, becomes lost in an spiral of self-destruction as he grows addicted to the world of the sighted.
Director(s): Ido Fluk
Actor(s): Dan Stevens, Malin Akerman, Kerry Bishé