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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ink

Written and directed by Jamin Winans, Ink is a surreal fantasy film that shines the light on those that control both our dreams and our nightmares. There's the good - they are called the Storytellers, and they're the ones behind all of our happiest dreams. Then there are the bad -  they are known as Incubi, and the Incubi are the ones that cause us to have our worst nightmares. Then there is the ugly - his name is Ink, and he is a damaged man who has gone down a path that has put him in a place where he wants to become one of the Incubi. And to do so, Ink must find a sacrifice that will satisfy the Incubi so they will allow Ink into their fold. Ink's sacrifice would become Emma (Quinn Hunchar), a young girl who Ink kidnaps from her own dreams, only to bring her to an alternate dream realm, leaving her physical being in a comatose state.

The Storytellers must to use the help of a man known as The Pathfinder to help find and rescue Emma from Ink and her impending sacrifice. They cannot do it alone as they need help from someone in the real world, someone that loves Emma but is too clouded in his own ego to do the right thing. That would be John (Chris Kelly), Emma's estranged father. John has some very serious personal issues such as a raging work related God complex and an incredible anger he fosters for losing custody of Emma due to his abuse of alcohol and drugs after his wife's tragic death.

To say Ink is ambitious would be underselling it big time, and the fact that this film cost about $250k to make is an incredibly impressive feat all its own. Along with being the writer and director, Jamin Winans edited the film as well as composed the amazing original soundtrack. He also served as the films co-producer with Kiowa K. Winans, who is credited for the Art Direction, Costume and Sound Design of this very grass roots film.

Shot by cinematographer Jeff Pointer, Ink has a visual style that would best be described as Sin City though the eyes of Terry Gilliam. The intense style used is a wise choice in that is helps hide the low budget look of the film, which is still apparent no matter what. One of the issues I had with the film initially is the erratic camera work and quick editing style. However, this is probably the only way to do what was done and make it look bigger than they could make it with the low budget, so they get a pass. Plus, hate it or not, it is well done for this style and everything flows pretty well and gets better throughout the film.

Some of the performances are very good (for what they are), namely the young girl who plays Emma, Quinn Hunchar. Jessica Duffy is more than capable as she portrays Liev, a Storyteller that becomes a hostage of Ink when she tries to unsuccessfully rescue Emma from her eventual sacrifice. Her character and Emma have some genuinely tender moments together that could have been totally cheesy, but they worked very well and added to Duffy's character and here selflessness. Chris Kelly, who plays Emma's issue ridden father, John is very solid too and carries a lot of the emotional baggage in Ink and he does so quite effectively. There are a few weak performances to go along with the better ones, and the most annoying comes from Jeremy Make, who plays Jacob, The Pathfinder. He's just very over the top and reminded me of a second rate Dane Cook, which is not really a good thing even if it was first rate.

The Pathfinder does bring me to another important facet of Ink and this is what makes The Pathfinder bearable for me. He is a blind character with an ability to see by using the rhythm of the Earth, or the rhythm of life as it were. That rhythm leads to an awesome scene of chain reactions that had me floored with how it unfolded and how it was created on every level. From the way it looked, the way things happened, and the way that The Pathfinder almost orchestrates the events had me caught up in the as they unfolded and connected to an earlier event in the movie.

There is not that much action in this film at all and most of the action is at the beginning and then at the end. This is where the choppy film style comes together quite perfectly as the real world and the quasi dream realm collide for an interesting cause and effect fight scene between the Incubi and the Storytellers. Light on the tough stuff this film may be, but what it brought instead of flying fists is what I loved about Ink. $250,000 fucking dollars this film cost and it brought more emotional impact than all but maybe three films I have seen this year. One film that came to mind for its story of good versus evil and its stylistic ambition was Night Watch (a film I hate), which had a budget of 4 MILLION dollars and couldn't achieve a sliver of what Ink could dish out in spoonfuls as far as passion and heart.

Heart is something that is to be almost neglected or done poorly in an action adventure/fantasy film and that is the transcendental element of this movie, it is not afraid to be an impact full story. Not a love story, but a story of love and fear and being unsure of ones self. It is a story of being alone by choice and why that choice is made, and how it can affect the ones around you and even the ones that are not around you. Personal greed and selflessness are major themes in Ink and I was emotionally touched by this moving modern day fairytale, as it was able to greatly exceed its meager budget with passion, care, and honesty.

This film is getting a small amount of buzz on teh webs and I hope to contribute to this buzz a little. This is an emotionally charged film that I would love to see get the support it deserves. Ink is available from all the usual places and better yet, it's on Netflix instant watch, so if you have access, you can watch it that way too. Here is a link to the film's website if you would like some more info on the movie and I hope everyone checks out this independent gem.

17 comments:

  1. Bless you, Instant Watch. I lurve me some dark fairy-tales that move beyond the surface and I could use the inspiration. I will check for this one (tonight?) before beddy bye.

    Thanks for the rec.

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  2. Please do, Ashlee. I hate to hype shit up, but it's hard to contain myself with a movie that just spoke to me. Plus, it is reasonable not to ever get too hyped for a movie with such a meager budget, but I loved it and I would love to hear what you think about it soon! And seriously, instant watch is a gift from heaven!

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  3. Glad to see you finally jumped on the Ink bandwagon! It is quite a wonderful little film and had me crying a bit on the inside....FINE I cried on the outside too ok?! Jeesh.

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  4. We all love Ink!

    Movies like Ink need us to get these talented filmmakers bigger budgets to make wonderful, visual films.

    I've never seen a fight scene where they are destroying a house and it gets fixed in milliseconds.

    Good acting, solid CGI and visual eye candy.

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  5. It's okay, if I had tear ducts, I would have cried too! It is one of those films that really can draw the out the emotions of its viewers and that is what I liked so much about it. I hope more people take the time to check this film out, it really deserves it.

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  6. Wow, Jaded, we just posted at the exact same time!

    It was your review that actually convinced me to check it out, so thanks!

    I loved how the alternate world fight scene at the end was going on around the real world father. It was really cool looking as he was walking through and all of this chaos was going on around him without his knowledge. Very brilliant.

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  7. Matt, I just finished watching it and... moved ain't the word. ^The war clearly was inside his mind, he was just convinced he could fight it in the boardroom.

    Just, wow...

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  8. That makes me so happy to hear that you liked it, Ashlee! I kinda thought you would with your taste...it is really a wonderful movie. I am gonna have to buy it eventually...I would love some behind the scenes goodness.

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  9. I bought it last night and I'm going to show it to the fam. I'm spreading the word on this one. I don't even know if I have the capacity for a review because of the vastness of the subject matter. You can take on a thousand different avenues this film went on. I will watch again this weekend.

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  10. Thanks for the review! I've been curious about this film for a while now, and ALMOST watched it today on Netflix Watch Instantly, but decided at the last minute to watch "Popcorn" instead. I do love me some Popcorn...but I'm thinking I should have gone with "Ink" after all.

    Maybe next time...
    --J/Metro

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  11. Good review! I wasn't sure what to think of it when I first read about it, but now you really have me interested in watching this.

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  12. I only just found out about this one two weeks back from The Jaded Viewer, cant wait to see it and if I didnt have this shitty laptop I would get the instant view immediately! Already have it on the que, just need to convince the wife to watch it >=)

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  13. Ashlee: That's awesome! I'm pumped that I turned someone on to this film, that is why I posted this review, otherwise, it doesn't really fit in with the Christmas theme! I too am anticipating watching it, but I wanna get my girl to sit down with me to do so.

    Where did you buy it from? I was checking the website and you can buy it from them for $18 or $19 bucks and it comes signed by the director! Hope that is the one you got, not a bad price for a signed film.

    Jonny: No problem, Jonny! I love Popcorn! So I can't blame you for watching that. You should check out Ink soon...I put it off for a few other movies, movies that were pretty good, but I'm glad I finally got around to it. Well worth your time...and you can't beat watching it on Netfilx!

    Geof: Thanks a lot, Geof! I hope I swayed you to want to check out the movie. Let me know what you think when you do see it.

    Carl: It was Jaded's review that convinced me to take a chance on the movie, so kudos to him! I think that your wife would enjoy it, just use key words like fairytale, fantasy, emotional, and all that other stuff that would maybe get her interested!

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  14. Nice review. I finally got to see this after noticing some of the buzz around it. Went in not expecting much, and was floored to have it exceed and explode any expectations I had.

    Fantasy is tough to do on any budget, and an urban fantasy with tons of effects on what is practically a shoestring budget... next to impossible. But to pull off the visual element AND the story and emotional content - not even Hollywood films manage all of that, and that's where INK really delivers.

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  15. Thanks, Robert!

    I completely agree and even though I thought the film looked like it could be special, it also looked like it could be pure shit too.

    As you said, fantasy films are very difficult to pull off, especially in an urban environment and that is mostly because we are familiar with the real world environments and to see fantasy characters in them can look a little silly.

    Ink stays away from that somehow and that is due to the proper storytelling in the film, wherein a big Hollywood film would just rely on FX work and action set pieces. Thanks for the comment!

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  16. Love this movie! Great review.

    My initial review was hampered by the circumstances under which I saw it, but I still liked it a lot. I've watched it more since then and absolutely love it now.

    Makes me tear up every time I watch it. Not ashamed to say. :)

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  17. I checked out your review and I'm glad you went back and gave it another shot. I don't blame you for letting up a tear...the film can be super movie and very powerful at times and it had me sucked in emotionally too. Thanks for sharing your thought - I very much appreciate them!

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