The Ticket is a modern-day fable about a blind man who regains his sight, only to become obsessed with appearances. His newfound superficiality leads him to dismantle his happy but unglamorous life for flashy luxuries, like expensive clothes and a penthouse apartment. Penned by screenwriting newcomer Sharon Mashihi, the story is heavyhanded at times, but well-shot and ultimately satisfying. (GPG: 3/5)
Review by FF2 Contributor Giorgi Plys-Garzotto
An anecdote you’ll hear many times over the course of The Ticket goes something like this: a man prays to God every night to win the lottery. He prays so hard and so long that an angel hears him in heaven, and approaches God to ask, “That guy has been praying to win the lottery for so long; why don’t you just let him win?” To this, God replies, “I wish I could! But he’s never bought a lottery ticket!” The Ticket is a story about luck, and how people manage to turn even its beneficial outcomes against themselves.
We are introduced to “James” (Dan Stevens) from his own perspective: because James is blind, the screen is blank, and we only hear the sounds of James’s world. Before he goes to bed, James says a prayer, thanking God for his happy family and not wishing for anything more in the world. But God has other plans. James wakes up the next morning having miraculously regained his sight, which has been lost to him since he was a child. It would seem that for being so content and virtuous given his lot in life, God has given James a second chance at sight.
After initially rejoicing, James is quickly able to use his sight, as well as his growing motivation toward money and prestige, to gain a promotion at work. He starts dressing better and exercising, however, he also becomes more selfish and manipulative, and soon leaves his wife to begin a relationship with a beautiful coworker. He also begins a scheme to gain approval at work that would turn a whole neighborhood of poor people out of their homes. The question of the film becomes: Will James get away with this, or will fate step in again to take his sight away once more?
The main problem with the execution of The Ticket is related to one of its strengths: its morality-play premise. The characters can often be two-dimensional, causing otherwise able actors to take turns for the melodramatic that derail certain scenes. The Ticket also doesn’t do enough with the form to elevate it above other Aesop-inspired films, allowing viewers to easily guess the story’s twists and turns before they happen. One also tends to feel hit on the head with the moral of the story, which boils down to, “being superficial is bad.”
All in all, The Ticket is a good story exploring an interesting, original premise. However, hiccups at various stages of production prevent it from being all it could be.
© Giorgi Plys-Garzotto (4/10/17) FF2 Media
Top photo: James, shortly after regaining his sight.
Middle photo: James, in bed with his mistress.
Bottom photo: James takes his mistress out to a field.
Photo credit: Cave Pictures
Q: Does The Ticket pass the Bechdel test?
The only female characters in the film are James’s wife Sam, and his mistress Jessica, and they never speak.