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Movies You Haven’t Seen but Should: “Ink”

June 16, 2010 1 comment

"Ink"

Ink” sat quietly in our Netflix streaming queue, waiting patiently. It was quiet and unassuming, biding its time until The Bride and I had tired of oversized explosions, endless car chases, rapid-fire shoot outs, and, of course, Swedish zombie Nazis.

So when we settled into “Ink,” we didn’t know what to expect. The poster hinted as some sort of urban fantasy. It is much more than that. I could describe the plot, but it would never do the movie justice. The core of the film describes two parallel plots: a young girl has been kidnapped by a demon, with a mysterious group working to save her, and the girl’s dad struggles to come to terms with his failings as a husband and father.

Into this mix is impressive fight choreography, a healthy amount of philosophy, and a generous sampling of heart. It is an oddball mix of fairy tale and psychological drama, and it threatens to boil over at any moment, but somehow it works.

Oh, by the way, it costs $250,000 to make, or the equivalent of a week of catering service on the typical Michael Bay “movie.” Rarely has there been a movie that screamed “labor of love” than “Ink.” The acting isn’t perfect, the desire to be “artistic” sometimes doesn’t work, and you’ll never mistake the special effects for a Jim Cameron movie, but you’ll also never see a mainstream Hollywood film this full of imagination and hope. “Ink” is never afraid to be smart, to be touching, to be dramatic, to be frightening, to make you laugh or cry. It is the epitomy of great independent filmmaking that swings for the fences and demands that you be entertained.

I admire the production company, Double Edge Films, for its willingness to do whatever it took to get “Ink” out to the public. When Hollywood said the movie wasn’t mainstream enough, Double Edge said “the hell with you” and instead released the film itself. And when the movie went viral on Bittorrent, the producers embraced it as an opportunity to have the movie reach out to an even wider audience. On the film’s website is a variety of merchandise available for purchase (do yourself a favor and buy the soundtrack), and even a spot to donate money if you did indeed watch the movie via downloading.

An oddly suited match to “Wings of Desire” (which The Bride and I had watched a few days earlier), “Ink” is a beguiling mix of genres that proves big budgets mean nothing when passion and ideas are let free and moviemaking is done with vision and not by committee. Hollywood could easily do a big budget remake of “Ink,” but it would be robbed of its soul. It would be some CGI’d monster of a movie, stripped of the very heart that beats so loudly within “Ink,” the very thing that makes it special.

“Ink” is available through Netflix, Blockbuster, and iTunes, as well as free on Hulu. It’s well worth the time.

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