Baltimore’s uber-prolific underground filmmaker Jimmy Traynor has returned from a long hiatus with a quirky new feature called “The Ticket.”
In this go-round, a pair of would-be bodyguards – the dapper and erudite William (Vincent De Paul) and the slovenly, rude Butch (Fabrice Uzan) – are hired by Charlie (Dennis Kinard) a newly-minted mega-lottery winner. Charlie is obsessed that his family members and would-be friends are out to bump him off and steal his winning lottery ticket. The bodyguards finds themselves navigating Charlie’s fairly eccentric whims while trying to avoid coming to blows with each other as their volatile personalities clash. Needless to say, unusual misadventures arise.
To its favor, “The Ticket” gets a great deal of mileage on the distinctive vibes from its three stars. Kinard, a Casey Affleck lookalike, provides an unsettling mixture of dewy-eyed sincerity and barely concealed insanity – he both attracts with his charm but repels with his odd demands, creating a wonderfully enigmatic personality. Uzan merrily chews the scenery as an overly emotional yet barely competent tough guy – his scene where he is bawled out by his boxer ex-girlfriend is hilarious. De Paul brings an amusing tongue-in-cheek spin to his role as someone who never quite succeeds in using style as a complete alternative for substance.
Unfortunately, the film runs out of gas towards its final act as Charlie’s agenda becomes clear. Without divulging spoiler, “The Ticket” gets knotted in a number of twists that suffocates the film’s strange yet entertaining storyline, created a genuine WTF wrap-up that never quite matches what came before it.
But even though the ride goes off the tracks, it still registers as a fun slice of idiosyncratic diversion. And it is truly wonderful to see Jimmy Traynor back behind the camera.