Dan Stevens as James
Malin Åkerman as Sam
Skylar Gaertner as Jonah
Kerry Bishé as Jessica
Oliver Platt as Bob
Peter Mark Kendall as Arnold Dixon
Liza J. Bennett as Grace
This was my pick and I wouldn’t say that I regret it, but now I wish I’d picked something with a little more edge. The Ticket opens with James (Dan Stevens of The Guest and probably Paul Walker stand-in gigs) regaining his sight through a medical miracle that’s described off the cuff as, “the tumor isn’t pushing on his cornea anymore”. Once James has his sight back he straight away wants a promotion, a new car and hey, while you’re at it, a new woman.
There were some really powerful acting moments along the brief 90 minutes. When James first comes to terms with his newly found vision, he and wife Sam (Malin Akerman of Watchmen fame) play believably speechless so well that you can’t help but get sucked into their happiness. About halfway into the movie the two share a dance in the community center where they met. Their marriage is ending and they know it. They’re gripping onto each other and giving that hug like when you know you’re not going to see someone for a long time, maybe ever again. They don’t say anything and they just two-step in circles but the performances are telling.
I was particularly taken with both the performances and the cinematography. I was totally ready to settle in for a night of high-ish concept indie drama, but while director Ido Fluk did wring some fine performances out of his cast, his focus on a mostly lame take on the Icarus fable is an odd miscalculation. What if someone got everything they ever wanted and then became a raging dickhead? That is the oh-so-deep question at the heart of The Ticket, and the predictability of its answer (which readers can probably fill in without having seen the movie) is the film’s most damning misstep.
I will say that I though the final moment was really powerful when James inevitably loses his sight and all his shiny new prizes and crawls, literally, away from Sam and out to the trees. We get his point of view here to close the movie as his vision fades away into simple shades. Good job.
Problem is that the movie’s boring and it’s really trying to drive home a theme that could fit inside a fortune cookie; “Be grateful, dummy!” James relationship with his son is lazy. His arguments with his former friend whom is still blind is a bit better but never has any stakes to it. The kicker is that the woman he leaves Sam for is poorly drawn. She slinks around the set for 15 minutes and you’re supposed to buy into her. I didn’t. I don’t think this theme alone can hold 90 minutes. Can you think of any movies like this that did it better in the same amount of time?
Well the concept is essentially a less interesting version of Flowers for Algernon. Instead of the sweetly tragic poignancy of Charlie Gordon’s rise and fall, The Ticket focuses on answering a fairly obvious question in, well, a fairly obvious way. Oh and let’s not forget making the lead a relentless ass. Once they strip almost all likability from the him they force the audience to grab onto something else to hold their interest, in this case the plot. The problem is, The Ticket isn’t interested in plotting devices like twists, turns or dramatic meltdowns. The climax had the emotional impact of watching someone get audited by the IRS.
That being said, Stevens is always interesting to watch, and after the big profits of Beauty and the Beast and high ratings of Legion, I’m sure we will be seeing him in increasingly interesting projects. Akerman is an underappreciated actor who I found as thoroughly charming and three dimensional in this as I did in Josh Radnor’s freshman effort Happythankyourmoreplease. The chemistry between the two is the kind of thing most Hollywood rom-coms would kill for. Oliver Platt is also a delight, but by now we should all be used to him being the bright spot in the “lesser” indie movie scene. The title of the film comes from an analogy about a man who never wins the lottery because he never purchases a ticket. Something about that particular self-help bon mot must have inspired Fluk to tell this specific story, but for the life of me I can’t figure out what it is
Holy crap! That was the guy from Legion, Colossal and Beauty and the Beast? He is being typecast as a prick I guess. Also, he needs to fire his agent. I’ve watched two of those three and I didn’t recognize him in this. And I agree totally; he’s so unlikeable in this movie. He’s the worst. It’s not often I watch a drama hoping the protagonist’s wife leaves him for his best friend. Looks like we agree on this one. Good acting, otherwise – thin gruel. For any genre fans like Trey here who thought they’d get high-concept. You got duped. Pass.
Yeah, I feel like now that Stevens’ star is rising they are dusting off his back catalog and releasing them to score some cash. The release of this and the upcoming first-person cheapie Kill Switch could damage his cache of goodwill. I can barely muster the energy to tear into the movie, mostly because it is such an inconsequential product. Like you said, it’s slow, it’s predictable, and it just kind of lays there. We definitely agree on this one; as far as The Ticket goes, don’t buy one for this movie. 1 out of 5 Corneas