Quickcard Review 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
Plot: A small budget sci-fi flick where a child's soul is stolen by a mysterious creature named Ink. A Storyteller and others go on a journey to try and rescue her in multiple dimensions. The key seems to be bringing her estranged father (Kelly) back to her life.
Who’s It For? If you want a cast of strangers, decent action and a story filled with some nice twists then you have Ink.
Expectations: I knew my fellow critic Lehar didn't like it, and she's our indie-queen, always championing smaller films. On the other hand, there seems to be a pretty rabid underground following.
It's amazing what director Jamin Winans has been able to accomplish with Ink. The visuals are reason alone to see this science fiction film. If you told me this is a $150 million dollar movie, of course my opinion completely changes. It's a film where you have to take the budget into account for what Winans is able to pull off. I actually liked (italics because I'm shocked) looking at the special effects and intense fight scenes. That's rare when you don't have a big budget.
Ink is also able to tap into story layers that give me hints of Dark City and Donnie Darko. Sure, there are things that are distracting, such as Ink's huge nose or the fact that almost all of the audio seems to be dubbed over. Then there's also Jacob (Make) who reminded me way too much of a poor man's Dane Cook (who I already dislike as an actor). Plus, the ugly hair-cutting bride could have been cut. But there's too many positives with this barely-heard-of film.
This is a story of dreams and nightmares, of going toward the light or losing yourself in darkness. John (Kelly) is upset with the world, we know this because he drops lots of F-bombs. He can pull it off though, because he's the best-of-the-best when it comes to making money. The story unravels in layers and we just get pieces of understanding as far as why John isn't in his daughter Emma's (Hunchar) life. At first, Hunchar is a kid actor that isn't compelling, mainly because it seems she's just memorized her lines. But then it's as though Winans recognizes this and he plays up the less-is-more approach. Though I would have liked to she the lioness roar a little bit more at the end. The standout actor here is Jessica Duffy as Liev the Storyteller. It's her responsibility to try and get into the head of Ink, and she truly seems at home trying to make Emma comfortable when Ink has them both under his control.
Ink walks the line nicely in just giving you enough of this fantasy world to keep you intrigued. I needed to know who the Incubus were and who the others were that were trying to protect the rest of the world. There's a distinctive rewatchability factor just to see how all the pieces fit once the mystery is revealed.
With quick moments, Hunchar is able to make romance, parenthood ... pretty much all the dramatic points, work effectively and then get out of the way for the action and fantasy. One scene in particular works when Jacob, the pathfinder, plays out the rhythms of the world to try and thrust John and his daughter together.
The battle for good & evil, and possible redemption will always be told. Winans has put his stamp on it, and I'm very curious to see where he can go from here.
Final Score: 7/10