Fresh on Demand: ‘THE TICKET’, starring Dan Stevens and Malin Akerman


Jared McMillan // Film Critic

Not rated, 97 minutes.
Director: Ido Fluk
Cast: Dan Stevens, Malin Akerman, Kerry BishéPeter Mark Kendall and Oliver Platt

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.

Dan Stevens in THE TICKET. Courtesy of Zachary Galler.

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.

Grade: C+

This film is available today On Demand, but is also playing in Dallas-Fort Worth at AMC Grapevine Mills 30 Theatres.

About author

Preston Barta

I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction ( as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.