So, the original plan was that I was going to review The Princess and the Frog today - but then a friend of mine sat me down and made me watch a movie that she's been raving about for a few weeks. Along with watching several episodes of Dr. Who, we watched a little movie called Ink.
Note: Not Princess and the Frog.
This movie is a bit older than most of the movies that I review - it was released way back in the ancient days of 2009. It's one of those movies that nobody really hears about - I never saw any trailers, commercials, or even posters for this movie. It's one of those movies that I doubt many of the people reading this review have ever actually heard of. However, it is because of its relative obscurity that I am writing this review.
Ink is set in our world - but with a dark, almost gothic fantasy twist to it. Like Inception, Ink's plot revolves around the nature of dreams - but instead of looking at the people who can control dreams, it looks at the entities who create them in the first place. The plot revolves around a conflict between two forces: the Storytellers, who create pleasant dreams that inspire hope, and the Incubi, who create and feed off of nightmares that inspire despair and mindless terror.
Just like Christopher Walken.
Early in the film we are introduced to a man named John, a successful businessman whose daughter, Emma, has been in the custody of his dead wife's parents. When the Storytellers come to him, it is discovered that his greatest dream is simply to play with his daughter again. However, shortly after this is revealed Emma is stolen away from her grandparents' home by a man named Ink. Though the Storytellers try to fight the man off, Ink overpowers them and escapes.
Not long after, a group of Storytellers sets out to rescue Emma before Ink can deliver her to the Incubi as a sacrifice. The plot goes down a twisting path, where John must resolve the ghosts of his past, and the Storytellers (along with a crazy blind man called a Pathfinder) must solve the mystery of Ink's motives while evading and fighting off the relentless Incubi. All of this comes to a head in the finale - which involves one of the greatest twist endings that I have ever seen. It's one of those things that legitimately does catch you by complete surprise, while simultaneously making you ask yourself how you didn't see it coming.
If this isn't your reaction to the end of the movie, stop lying, you liar.
The result is... well, it's one of the coolest movies that I have seen in a while. While it does not reach the level of awesome that was achieved by Inception, it comes very close.
The thing that's so impressive about Ink is that it's a sci-fi/fantasy thriller that not only manages to be excellent, but does so on a very low budget. Low budget as in less than a quarter of a million dollars. It has some very well-done visual effects, stellar acting, a great original soundtrack, stunning cinematography, and excellent writing - in other words, it has all the qualities one might expect to find in a high-budget, professional film.
There's not much else that I can say about this movie without giving too much away - it's one of those movies that you really have to see to understand and believe. Long story short, it's a fun, creepy thriller that proves to be incredibly cerebral and well-written. At 106 minutes, it doesn't overstay its welcome, and it's a truly unique movie experience. If you ever have the opportunity to do so, watch this movie. You can find it on Netflix both by ordering the DVD and through Instant Watch. Seriously, check it out. It's a film that you won't soon forget.
Final Grade: A