Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.
Jared McMillan // Film Critic
As humans, we aspire to be something that is better than the current version of ourselves. There is something we find ourselves wishing we had because it is the one thing holding us back, such as x amount of money, a new house, or better education. It’s a matter of perspective, however, as we choose to either focus on what we have and use those to make us better, or look at what we don’t have as an excuse for our current lot in life. THE TICKET takes this concept and attempts to look at it in a directly superficial manner.
It begins as James (Dan Stevens) regains his eyesight for the first time in years, as he had it taken away as a side effect from a pituitary tumor. He experiences everything in his life for the first time, overcome with emotion as he sees his son for the first time, as well as his wife, Sam (Malin Akerman). The longer he experiences the world with sight, the more he realizes the perception of his life is not what it appeared to be when he was blind.
As James is adjusting to life, his tastes become more superficial. His house is too quaint, his clothes are too drab, and he starts to look at other women, specifically his co-worker Jessica (Kerry Bishe). Because he wants finer things, he neglects the things that made him feel less empty. However, it is not just James affected by this change, as Sam starts to resent his newfound self-reliance. She no longer has the control or the fulfillment of being there for someone in need.
THE TICKET takes an approach akin to tunnel vision, with James being the sole focus. Dan Stevens, who is in the midst of a red-hot 2017 with FX’s outstanding LEGION and the BEAUTY AND THE BEAST reboot, certainly has a knack for emoting introspection, and this is probably his best work. As James grows in confidence, his performance becomes more robust, incorporating a swagger as the protagonist now can have all he newly desires. However, it would be delusional if he did not have some sort of fragility backing the braggadocio. This is new to James, and therefore, is taking in everything fast, harming those that were there for him as well as homeowners in his new promotion.
As the camera follows the star, director Ido Fluk uses his selfishness to reflect within the frame. The majority of the movie is shot with shallow focus to create a scene of self-involvement, so James is the focal point while everything in the background is blurred. Furthermore, he uses first-person views to help the audience realize the depth of vision. The opening credits sequence are just recurring shots of James’ current sight so the viewer can easily relate without having to show what life is like as a blind man.
However, THE TICKET never fully approaches the morality it sets its sights on. Maybe the movie sets out to show that our vision of a physical reality leads to shallow tendencies but it does not broach the subject, if only grazing the subject. We just meander through James’ crisis of existence, unaware of who he truly is as a person. Is he this shallow because of this new endowment? Has he always been this shallow, but settled on this life due to his circumstances? How are we supposed to feel about Sam in general? It is an intriguing character study, however, much like its protagonist, it doesn’t fully realize the potential.
This film is available today On Demand, but is also playing in Dallas-Fort Worth at AMC Grapevine Mills 30 Theatres.