A while back, I reviewed a movie called Ink. Written and directed by Jamin Winans, I described the plot as follows:
There is another dimension that we cannot see, where rival beings exist. The Storytellers give us happy dreams and pleasant thoughts, while the Incubus give us nightmares and sometimes shadow us in our waking lives, continuing to make us prideful, arrogant, and ultimately miserable. When a little girl, Emma, falls into a coma and has her spirit taken prisoner by Ink, a deformed being who longs to become an Incubus, a group of Storytellers try to rescue her. Their only hope is to get Emma’s father John, a widower, to care about Emma again and visit her in the hospital.
That’s a bit of a simplification of the plot, but it’ll do.
My point on revisiting this movie now is that upon subsequent viewings, it has grown to be one of my favorite movies of the year. I believe my initial lukewarm reaction to it was due to the fact that I watched it via Netflix instant watch, on a computer that was having some memory problems. It was a little choppy, the audio was staticky, and I even had to stop it for a while and continue it later.
Obviously that sort of thing can hurt one’s appreciation for a movie like this. There are a lot of characters and random elements all working together towards one central story in this movie. When viewed chopped up, as I viewed it originally, it loses some of that flow.
I’ve watched it a couple more times now (and watched the ending many times over), and while I will admit that it is still not without its flaws, the overall artistry and emotional impact present in it is much more obvious to me. Yes, the lack of a bigger budget hurts it in a couple areas: special effects and the overall level of the acting. That being said, I think some of my criticism of the acting was a bit unfair. I believe some of what seems like dull acting might actually be a product of a lot of the dialogue being looped in post-production. It’s difficult to recapture the emotion present on set. Again, a result of a lower budget.
I actually suggested in my review that it would be nice to see this remade with a bigger budget, but I’m going to take that back now, due to the fact that remaking it would risk losing some of the incredibly emotional moments Winans captured the first time through.
I’ve seen this movie referred to as a work of art, and I’m beginning to agree with those that say that. It might be rough around the edges, but the story at its core is beautiful. It’s all about pride, vanity, self destruction, and redemption. As one character, Jacob, puts it:
“A man has a weakness, he’s flawed. That flaw leads him to guilt. The guilt leads him to shame. The shame he compensates with pride and vanity, and when pride fails, despair takes over, and they all lead to his destruction. It will become his fate…Something’s gotta stop the flow.”
I don’t want to give away too much about the plot because the movie holds some nice turns and surprises, so I’ll start wrapping this up. I will say, though, that the end of this movie reduces me to tears every time I see it. You’ve got heroic actions, a character’s redemption, and some really nice music courtesy of the writer/director himself, Jamin Winans. Yes, he his wearing a lot of hats in this one.
Maybe others will watch this and think, “what’s the big deal?” But that’s the beauty of movies, right? You never know when and why a movie will effect you in a certain way. Different people laugh, cry, and get excited about a variety of different things. This happens to be a movie that just pushes all the right buttons for me.
So, if you’re wondering why my rating for it suddenly shot up from a 7.3 to its current 8.7, well now you know. I just had to watch it a few more times and see it for what it really is. Sort of in the same way Liev sees through Ink’s rough outer appearance:
“I choose to see you for what you were intended to be. Not for what you’ve become.”