Ink

Ink

Directed by: Jamin Winans
Cast: Chris Kelly, Jessica Duffy, Quinn Hunchar, Jeremy Make
Running Time: 1 hr 40 mins
Rating: Unrated
Release Date: July 24, 2009

CLICK HERE to read Jeff Bayer’s Quickcard Review of Ink

Plot: A child’s soul is stolen by an Ink (Incubus) in an effort to ingratiate himself to his superiors. So the Storytellers go on a quest to save her and reunite her with her father, John (Chris Kelly).

Who’s It For? Fans of fantasy who unfortunately have low standards.

Expectations: I don’t get a lot of sci-fi or fantasy to review though it’s a genre I really like. So I was hoping to find a diamond in the rough.

SCORECARD (0-10)

Actors:

Chris Kelly as John: John is a raging a-hole who also happens to be the father of Emma, an adorable Dakota Fanning lookalike. But after his wife died he was removed from her life by the court, who gave custody to his in-laws. So he’s sunk his efforts into being a businessman who’s business seems to be sputtering streams of curse words that make no sense. He must be amazing at his random job for anyone at his company to put up with him, or not sue the crap out of him for abuse. When his daughter ends up in a coma, he refuses to go visit her! Seriously? I had a hard time determining it Kelly was a bad actor or just had a crappy script. The fact that he’s from the facial hair school of acting doesn’t help. In all the flash backs he’s a nice guy with a clean shaven face, in the present he’s an arse with a beard. Apparently, conveying his jerkiness without the aid of facial hair was too much to ask. Not a good sign.
Score: 2

Jessica Duffy as Liev: The Storytellers give people pleasant dreams. Liev is one of those, living in her shadow world and sharing good dreams until Emma (Quinn Hunchar) is kidnapped by Ink. She tries to save her but is captured by Ink as well. Duffy seems like a reasonably good actress, she’s definitely good with Hunchar. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have a lot to work with. Her motivation is murky, she wants to talk Ink out of it, so does that mean that being an Incubus is a choice rather than something that you just are? It’s all confusing.
Score: 4

Jeremy Make as Jacob: Jacob is blind, you can tell because he has electrical tape over his eyes. Apparently, he’s incapable of acting blind without this prop. No one’s dialogue is good, but he gets some especially heinous lines. Again, I can’t tell if the actor sucks or the part was terrible, in this one I’m going with both. Jacob’s meant to be a soothsayer with attitude, but just comes off as a bit of a turd.
Score: 2

Talking: There’s so much wrong here. There are the long streams of obscenities that seem unwarranted and don’t make sense. It’s hard to make hardcore cursing sound normal when the situation isn’t extreme. I now appreciate Samuel L. Jackson so much more than I did before. Beyond that, every touching scene between Emma and John or Emma and Liev sounds like a hundred hallmark cards vomitting their worst cliches.
Score: 1

Sights: At first I thought the film looked pretty good. The special effects for the Incubi with screens in front of their faces is pretty creepy. Then the color started changing, some scenes are grey, some green, some blue and none of it has any degree of consistency. It’s not like the real world is one color and the parallel world of the Storytellers is another, it just keeps changing scene by scene for no reason. Then there’s the ADD Tony Scott style editing. This film doesn’t use the same effects he uses, but in one scene two men are talking on a stairwell while the camera angle switches by about 180 degrees over and over again, with no sense of timing. It’s a really bad sign when I notice the editing of a film.
Score: 3

Sounds: Actually the score wasn’t bad in this movie, it did make me almost care what was going on during the pivotal scenes at the end when everything was supposedly coming together.
Score: 5

PLOT SPOILERS

Best Scene: Any scene with the creepy faced incubi was pretty cool. Well, except for the dialogue and acting.

Ending: I didn’t really care. Though the ending did explain a fake body part. Also, what was with the Storytellers doing their shadow fighting? The fight didn’t seem to have anything to do with them after all.

Questions: Why go through and create a mythology for your film if you’re not going to name any of your characters in the film? Why did anyone think this film would be a good idea?

Rewatchability: No chance.

OVERALL

I see a lot of independent films and I want to support their filmmakers. But ultimately, I have to go with the people who are going to pay money to see these movies and so I’ve got to warn you NOT to see this. I thought the idea of low budget scifi could be really cool, like Primer a great, if somewhat confusing low-budget surprise. But Ink makes the same mistakes that big budget films do, it relies on effects and camera trickery rather than creating a strong story. The film has some moments that look cool, but from the beginning I couldn’t get hooked into the script. The mythology of the Storytellers and incubi isn’t really explained, it’s just something I cobbled together using the credits to give them names. I wouldn’t have made it to the end of this movie if I wasn’t writing a review of it. That’s something that I almost never say. It’s a mess.

Final Score: 2/10

14 Comments

  1. Cole Nelson says:

    Whoa! Chip on the shoulder time. This movie got stellar reviews from aint it cool news, fangoria, film school rejectes, the Denver Post, Midnight showing. I can’t find a bad review. Everyone doesn’t have to agree, but a 2?

    Personally, I saw it in Los Angeles and loved it: complicated, original, beautiful, solidly acted, emotional….

    Pretty sure Megan made up her mind in the first thirty seconds.

  2. Christopher says:

    Listen, I just saw the film. It was bad, I agree with you there, but I think you forgot to point out one of the worst things about this film, and one of the best.

    The glowing effect on the entire film makes me want to scream, I don’t know what they made this film with, but whatever it was just got clouded by this cheap effect. I don’t understand why indie films do things like this.

    The best thing about the film is the big black man who is never named. I feel like he actually grips the screen, hold the attention of the viewer, and looks, well, bad a**, BUT WAIT, they forget about him, and never develop a thing, and the script carries on about our main man’s business deals that no one really cares about. Too much random junk and not enough of the things that seem important.

  3. Sarah says:

    I saw this movie when it played back in Denver (actually TWICE) and I thought it was a very touching movie. The negative aspects of the film that she stated were actually very positive pieces to the film. I thought the acting was amazing, especially from actors that I have never heard of before. The story was confusing at the beginning but after watching the entire movie it was set up perfectly, and was emotionally impacted. I cried at the end and i heard other people around me with the sniffles.

    There was depth to a movie, and had many different layers and discovered more layers the second time around watching. The visuals and the effects were something that I honestly have not seen before, and also finding out how low budget it was makes it even more amazing.

    Even though I see that certain people have their gaffes with the movie about the glow or other (very minor) aspects of the film, I give the director credit. He had a STYLE and he went with it, and in my opinion and based on the many other VERY positive reviews (honestly, this is the first bad review that I have found on this movie), this movie was amazing from beginning to end.

    Beautiful, Emotional, Heartfelt and without a doubt, revolutionary. This movie will be remembered and measured up to for years to come.

  4. Pericles says:

    Sorry Megan — FAIL!

    Yeah sometimes great movies get bad reviews, but this a pretty pathetic beat down. But good golly gosh Megan!

    “ink” is a layered plot with an advanced multi-dimensional time line that is only going to play well with a smart audience. So it will forever be in the Love/Hate zone I suppose as a tiny segment of SciFi/Fantasy fans and Indie Film lovers are small minded.

    Thank you for telling fans NOT to see this and for putting the spoilers in a different color font IN THE MIDDLE of the review without some kind of link method to reveal them.

    You really want to kill this movie don’t you?

    Such a hatchet job on such an exquisite work only proves that “ink” is truly the outstanding work that the REAL FANS of genre filmmaking are excited about.

    Although you say that this movie is for “Fans of fantasy who unfortunately have low standards.” It is a growing and ravenous fan base that is propelling “ink” along.

    I think the story and mythology that Winans has come up with is original and compelling. You Megan, need pabalum to be entertained and engaged — and that’s fine. There is plenty of that out there. I like pabalum too. “The Hangover” was AWESOME.

    But it is a bit sad to see you frustrated as the point of this movie — this GEM — this EPIC FABLE — sails over your head. It seems that “ink” made you angry somehow.

    I’m just wondering what you should do to create more havoc for this movie…

    Should you glue on a beard (I suggest a Van Dyke, as the Goatee is way over used) seek out Jamin Winans and perhaps Chris Kelly, bite their necks and suck their bodies dry of all of their blood?

    Actually, you sort of already done that haven’t you…

    or

    Watch “ink” again and see where you went wrong.

    But I don’t expect you to do that.

    “ink” only plays well to a smart audience.

    Your review rating “Zero point zero.”

    FAIL!

    (BTW, Primer was very good. But you thought it was “somewhat” confusing… Really? Complicated and brilliant – yes. Confusing – not really. You should watch that again also.)

  5. Brian Erzen says:

    Your review is really harsh and maybe this movie wasn’t your cup of tea. I’d say it’s a high concept film. Maybe it’s over your head. It’s a whimsical tale that you just need to let go and enjoy.

    I’m sorry you saw a different movie then I did.

  6. Bob says:

    “Stupid is as stupid does”…sometimes it writes reviews.

    Having looked back at her others, Megan is obviously one of those “critic means being critical” reviewers who believes her job is to be negative about everything (“shake the sh*t out of them,” one “Ink” character would say.)

    Example? Megan SAYS that Quinn Hunchar’s role as Emma is “adorable” but apparently not so adorable that it warranted a numerical review of Quinn’s performance. (Wouldn’t want to say anything positive, now would we?)

    I’m thinking “Ink” hit a nerve (maybe Megan can’t cope with the word “f*ck” being said outloud or has a deep-seated fear of men in rubber suits.) Or maybe she’s just a generally unhappy girl who can’t find a purpose for herself since she found misandry.

    I’ve seen “Ink” many times. What Megan DIDN’T bother to tell you is that you’ve never seen anything like it…ever. It is fresh, and unique, and if you’re looking for the truth about this film, I’d suggest you stick to the eleven hundred OTHER reviews that love it.

    There’s one in every crowd.

  7. Jeff Bayer says:

    I have no issues with Megan not liking the film, but I am surprised she didn’t like the look of it. That alone was worth my time.

    Here’s my review of Ink —

    http://thescorecardreview.com/film-reviews/2009/07/30/ink-2/4650

  8. Derek F. says:

    I loved this movie and recommend it to everyone! WOW MEGAN! Bad day? Axe to grind? Or just pissed off? I agree it’s okay that you did not like the movie. I would say that it is not for everyone, however “everyone” is a very small group of people, based on the blogs and reviews and excitement of this film. This movie was sold out both times I went to see it in a good sized theater in Denver, 150 to 200 seats on a Thursday night, Sold out? The second time I saw it in Denver, in a bad economy and 6 weeks into the run it was sold out again???!?!? Name ANY Blockbuster movie that did that in any theater, anywhere in the country, anytime in the last ten years?
    I loved this movie. I would never go see a Indi-Sci-Fi movie in a theater twice had I not loved it. This was a touching, heartwarming, intense, well filmed, well acted masterpiece, the best movie I have seen in 2009! Go see this movie and I promise you will not regret it. This is the kind of movie the world needs right now. Megan shame on you for taking out your anger on a movie, one that is fighting to be seen and heard! I really think Megan needs to see this movie a few times, so she can understand it. The movie is a little deep, and it takes a reasonable amount of intelligence to comprehend the whole story. Maybe not the type of movie Megan should be reviewing!
    I am defensive only because of how amazing I thought the whole concept was. Visually, writing, acting, and musically, this movie really was a masterpiece for me, and many others like me. I guess us, “Low standard Sci-Fi” lovers, will just have to fight harder to get this film to our friends across the nation. Your grades as far as acting goes are totally ridiculous, the highest grade you gave was to Jessica Duffy, with a 4 out of 10……..? Get F’n real! And to lambast an actor like Chris Kelly, who played basically three roles and was believable in all three, is criminal. But at least you ripped apart an 8 year old little girl, not that age should make a difference, but if you could not see the brilliance in Quinn Hunchar, you never were awake for this movie. In fact Megan, I don’t think you were sober, awake, or in any way shape or form in a position to watch, comprehend, or enjoy this movie. Based on your review, I think it is way to far over your head. Stick to reviewing “Indi-romances and Indi-lights, this movie is “NOT FOR YOU!” I give your rating a 1/10, and if I were to review you as you reviewed the movie, I would say that your writing style is a 0/10 and your creativity was a 0.5/10, and I would not recommend your reviews to anyone! But to everyone else; Go See INK! I promise, you are smart enough for this movie.

  9. Derek says:

    Kudos to the films brand evangelists…your voice is loud however your credibility is questionable.

    There are undeniable issues with this film, as well as highlights.

    Attacking the reviewer for her opinion is poor form. Some of her points are valid and should be viewed by the director and crew as points of consideration for their next projects.

    This is not a “mass market” film. It appeals to a niche, and if the production team is savvy..they will cater to the niche.

    The reoccurring “screw you” attitude from the core fan base that resonates is condescending. Implying you are “less than” educated …”less than” versed…”less than” spiritual if you don’t like this film…is an overpowering and counter productive reoccurring message from the core fan base. Ink is not Pan’s Labyrinth..it’s flawed on many levels- but its unique. It is what it is. Embrace that and move forward. But don’t waste effort telling folks they are wrong for not liking the flick, that is a battle with no victor.

  10. Indie film maker says:

    I have just watched this film twice, and loved every minute of it – Not a fan of the review though, but each to their own!

    I think the only problem with this movie is it has not had a marketing team behind it to give more people a chance to have their own opinion.

    I am seriously impressed with the talent of Jamin Winans for writing, directing, editing and scoring the entire film himself – on an indie budget, that should at least double the reviewers scores!

    im a film maker myself so I know from experience that Winans must have poured his entire heart and soul into this production and I for one appreciate his efforts!

  11. Shayne says:

    I think this review is dead on. In fact, maybe a little too nice. This movie is gawdawful.

  12. Jonny says:

    No, no, no… this movie was incoherent and barely watchable. Nobody is doing indies a favor by championing stuff with terrible acting cheap cinematography, and an awfully written script. This review is dead on. It is not a ‘deep’ film… Ikiru, Wild Strawberries, and yes, Primer… these are deep, meaningful films. This was just a bad low budget movie.

  13. Steve says:

    Well, if you know it’s a low budget indie, then I feel you have to respect the effort and artistry of how the filmmakers got it done. I liked the look of the film, the fragmented storyline, and the ideas behind it all. I agree that the lead, Kelly, was much better as the clean-shaven young husband, and as Ink, than he was as the ‘captain of industry’ guy. Some of the dialogue was pretty bland and obviously didn’t resonate within the characters. There’s no way the lead wouldn’t go to see his wife’s child because her grandparents got custody, no matter how much of an a-hole he was.
    I was not bothered by the ‘headshot storyteller gang’, because they were supposed to represent the good dreams and physically had to be beautiful. I feel that Allel was played well, but not really given enough to do, while the storyteller who accompanied Ink and Emma in the alternate world was really just OK. I believe this Winans guy could be a very good filmmaker, given an actual budget.

  14. Michael says:

    No amount of ‘clever’ storyline can ever excuse for acting and dialogue this bad. One of the worst, most over-hyped movies of all time.

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