Jan 24, 2014

[Movies] Ink (2009)

I'm pretty sure that I've already alluded to my partner Tobie's collection of somewhat unusual movies. I never really know how he finds these things, but one thing just leads to another and he ends up collecting more and more films of interest that I had never heard of before. But to be fair, Tobie has great taste and more often than not these movies do have points of interest that we share a liking for.

Ink is definitely one of those movies. It's definitely the kind of movie that fits the term "cult classic" given how it was both produced and distributed independently. And while the movie has never seen a proper commercial theatrical release, enough people have managed to see it in one for or another.

And to be fair, this movie is visually impressive, to say the least. And I'm not just saying that the movie has great effects considering the budget - I'm saying that the movie has great visuals, period. The team behind it had a pretty clear vision of what they wanted to put together and managed to do so for just $250,000.

Synopsis: Ink is a 2009 urban fantasy movie written and directed by Jamin Winans. The movie was also produced by Winans's independent production company, Double Edge Films.

The movie begins scenes of a business man (Chris Kelly) angrily headed to his car. As he drives down the street, he starts cursing rather violently for reasons unknown. But things come to abrupt end as a truck beats a red light and crashes into his vehicle. In a dream sequence of sorts, we see the man being coaxed by his daughter (Quinn Hunchar) to play. At first he resists but in time he relents and they go off in their make-believe games.

We are then introduced to the Storytellers, who appear to be warriors of a sort of exist on a separate plane of reality. They are unable to directly influence our world to any significant degree save for their ability to pass on pleasant dreams with a touch to the person's forehead. They are challenged by other forces known as Incubi, whose shadows cause nightmares for any people who fall under them. And lastly there's a mysterious hooded figured named Ink who seems to determined to win the favor of the Incubi by stealing away the soul of the little girl and delivering it to them.

We first need to talk about the visual effects of this movie, which are pretty phenomenal when you get down to it. A lot of the ideas that went into this movie are pretty unique and interesting and resulted in some stunning visuals. You have the wonderfully seamless entrances of the Storytellers when they cross into our world with a flash of light, that's like a Q appearing in a Star Trek episode without the sound effect. And the Incubi are really amazing with their false faces projected on panels mounted in front of them which are so visually striking that it really does a lot for the movie.

The actors are a weird bunch of varying levels of talent but none bad enough to be considered campy or overly hammy. They certainly do their best to bring their characters to life and it's clear that some were really passionate about their character concepts. That enthusiasm carried over into their scenes and made up for some of the less-than-ideal writing.

The movie certainly wanted to carry a lot of rather high concept ideas in terms of characters and situations. It's the classic writing trope of how there's a world of difference when you add a capital letter to a common term - hence storytellers versus Storytellers. But it didn't feel overly cumbersome and still made for a decently compelling narrative as a whole. Some characters may seem a little silly in their loftiness, but I suppose we cam forgive them for that.

The movie also had quite a number of martial arts fight sequences that I have to bring up. The fight choreography involved in a lot of these sequences was pretty impressive and it adds plus points the actors since they clearly had to do a lot of their own stunts. And the fights still worked with the story - we've certainly seen enough movies that ended up with dramatic bits with action sequences as disjoint commercial breaks.

Ink probably won't appeal to everyone, but enough folks should find reason to enjoy this little diversion into an alternate reality. The ending could have been a little less predictable, but that doesn't necessarily cheapen the final result. Thus the movie rates a respectable 4 creepy Incubus moments out of a possible 5.

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