PLOT: When night falls, a young girl is trying to fall asleep. But unlike all the others that drift into slumber, she can see the angels and the demons that bring dreams and nightmares to all those tucked away in bed. And when a particularly creepy figure comes to take the girl away, she see him, as she does a group of angels trying to protect her. She is brought into another world unwillingly to another time as her human form hangs on for dear life as she lies in a coma. Her only hope may be her father who has lost contact with his little girl, as he seems to be afraid of his past, and the death of his wife and her mother.
REVIEW: What a wonderful world it is when a group of filmmakers can create something as beautifully sublime as INK. It is simply a tale of a father and daughter. Yet there is nothing simple about Ink. An absolutely striking fairy tale that will linger long after viewing, it is deeply felt and such a happily inventive film that will move you and do all the things a great motion picture should do. With a true independent feel, Ink takes risks and succeeds on almost every single level. A slight complaint would be that there are times early on it lingers on characterization and may drag for some, but patience is a virtue. This adventure is so satisfying, that even though the revelation that comes near the end is predictable, it doesn’t matter in the slightest, as the road getting you there is where the beauty lies.
Director Jamin Winans creates an artfully vivid world of “storytellers” and dark angels that enter our world from another dimension in time. As the good angels appear, they spread dreams of wonder and happiness to all of us that sleep peacefully through the night. But when anther type of angel appears and spreads its black shadow upon a young girl named Emma (a delightful Quinn Hunchar), it threatens to take her with him. And unlike the rest of us who seem completely unaware of the dream offering visitors, Emma can see the beast. This monster of an angel (and title character), dressed in a ripped dark cloak, takes the girl while fighting off the ones looking to save her. Yet it isn’t her body that he has kidnapped, but her soul, and she is left in a critical state. Deep inside this dream is a powerful and moving work that offers a bit of spirituality and hope in a haunted world of angels and demons.
I had the opportunity to see Jamin Winans feature 11:59, which I found incredibly well shot, but I wasn’t thrilled with the casting and script, although it was clear he has a terrific eye. With Ink, he expands on this and creates a cold and dark netherworld of sorts where “Ink” takes the young girl along for a perilous journey, only to offer her as a sacrifice. With this sacrifice he will find that his misshapen and ugly appearance will be healed and all will be forgiven. That is unless the young girls father John (Chris Kelly) can rescue her from his own greed and pain. I won’t give away much more than that, but I will mention that the cast is quite terrific here. Chris Kelly is very believable as a man running away from guilt. He gives a multi-layered performance that helps keep the story grounded and real. Also worth mentioning is Jeremy Make as Abe, a strange being who may be of help finding the key to save Emma.
Ink is such a striking film that seemed to take inspiration from directors like Terry Gilliam and Alex Proyas. In many ways it felt like a cross between ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND and DARK CITY. But it is not merely a rip off of the two, it is a truly original work that I hope finds an audience. While you can tell that the budgetary limitations made for much improvisation with the set design, it works surprisingly well. A film like this, that travels between two different dimensions, seems like it would be quite an undertaking. And they definitely tackled this challenge and somehow created a visually impressive landscape. While there are the occasional “film school tricks” practiced, it all works the way it should and never detracts from the beauty of the experience. By sheer imagination and ingenuity, they have created a very fanciful looking picture.
Ink is such an inspired and beautiful film, one that offers wonderfully realized characters, that also includes the lovely Jessica Duffy as a “storyteller” who is taken along with Emma by Ink. Both her and the young Hunchar are terrific together. This film is created from passion and love, from which it manages to tell a wonderful story and still offers up some pretty effective special effects. I walked into this film without watching a trailer, and without knowing anything that was happening or going to happen, and it is absolutely the best way to experience it. This is such an imaginative film, and it is truly one of the most profound and original this year, in fact, it is absolutely one of the best films of 2009. It stretches beyond being just an independent genre film into a work of quality storytelling that is a must see for anyone given the chance. My rating 9/10 -- JimmyO