A film that captures the experience of a blind person? Could anything be more preposterous?
But that's precisely what happens in the opening minutes of The Ticket, an intense, visually innovative and emotionally rich indie about a visually-impaired telemarketer who miraculously regains his sight only to lose his soul in the process.
Downton Abbey alumnus Dan Stevens, who is currently burring up the screen in FX' Legion, turns in a blistering performance in the lead role. He's joined by a terrific supporting cast that includes Malin Akerman (Billions, Watchmen), Kerry Bishé (Halt and Catch Fire, Argo) and Oliver Platt (Chicago Med, Fargo).
The Ticket will be released Friday, April 7 at limited theaters (locally at AMC Loews Cherry Hill 24). Happily, it'll be available on the same day on VOD and at all major streaming outlets from Amazon Video to the Xbox Store. (Dates have yet to be announced for its release on disc.)
"I was working on the film and the picture didn't work. The screen went black and there was only dialogue which made it strange. But it also was very riveting," he said.
"So formally, that's where I had the idea of opening a film inside the head of a sight-impaired person."
The narrative came from the Jewish tradition.
"I have always been fascinated by these types of stories about a person getting a gift that becomes a curse. It's the idea of being tested … which is really a biblical idea. The Book of Job has that concept," said Fluk.
"So I wanted to use blindness as a way to tell that kind of story. And it's a story we're all familiar with. We've all heard about people who win the lottery or become famous overnight. And within six months, they crash and burn … they lose their spouses, their families and all their money."
A dark adult fairy tale or fable, Fluk's film raises fundamental ethical questions about the toll materialism had taken on our ability to love one another.
To bring its message home, Fluk divided the story into three unequal but visually distinct sections.
"When [Stevens' character] gains his sight, the colors are softer and a little over-saturated to give it an intimate and experiential feel as he comes used to is new capabilities," said Fluk.
"Eventually as he gets more used to it, more streamlined and confident, we move to a much cooler palette."
Added Fluk, "and finally at some point, the camera is kicked over and everything becomes askew … and much, much darker."
We Don't Belong Here. Thriller about family secrets features Anton Yelchin as an apparently happy, well-adjusted young man who shared everything with his family. But when he suddenly disappears, his mom (Catherine Keener) and three sisters (Riley Keough, Kaitlyn Dever and Annie Starke) are forced to delve more deeply into his private life which is far darker than they imagined. It's available now on all platforms.
Kiss of Death (Blu-ray only). One of the most perverse noirs ever produced, Henry Hathaway's 1947 B-picture stars Victor Mature as an ex-con desperate to go straight. But Mature is upstaged by a young Richard Widmark who scorches the screen in his feature debut as a psychotic crook who is so heartless, he pushes a woman strapped in a wheelchair down a flight of stairs. The film has been gorgeously restored in high def as part of the Twilight Time Blu-ray collection and is available directly on their website. (See the trailer here. I urge you to check out the rest of the Twilight Time Collection at www.twilighttimemovies.com.)
1 Mile To You. Graham Rogers (Quantico) stars as a teenage athlete whose grief over the loss of his girlfriend (Stefanie Scott, Jem and the Holograms) drives him to run faster and faster. Billy Crudup (20th Century Women) costars as his coach, while Liana Liberato (If I Stay) plays the boy's potential new love interest. Gravitas Ventures will release the film Friday, April 7 at select theaters, on VOD and via all streaming platforms.
Sleepless. Swiss film stylist Baran bo Odar (Who Am I – No System Is Safe) directs Jamie Foxx, Michelle Monaghan and Dermot Mulroney in a gritty thriller about a pair of undercover cops (Foxx, T.I.) who rob a shipment of cocaine belonging to a businessman (Mulroney) who happens to be bosom buddies with a vicious mobster (Scoot McNairy). The picture is a remake of the mega-violent 2011 French l hit Sleepless Night. Now available on all digital platforms; due April 18 on Demand and on disc.
A selection of the most popular online video providers:
Amazon Video: www.amazon.com/video/
Google Play: https://play.google.com
Movies On Demand: www.rentmoviesondemand.com/
Vimeo On Demand: https://vimeo.com/ondemand
Video On Demand and Pay-Per-View also offered by most cable and satellite TV providers: