1, 2, 3, 4… and so the Pathfinder maps the world in Jamin Winan’s imaginative Ink. Made on a shoestring budget and made famous by its internet accessibility, Ink plumbs the depths of a dream world inhabited by spirits intent on saving us from creepily glitchy critters who try to infect us with nightmarish woes.
Ink opens with John (Christopher Soren Kelly) and it’s clear from the off that John isn’t having a great day, especially as it culminates in his car being smashed into, with him in it (with him, rather prophetically, screaming ‘fuck’ several times seconds before). Is he just naturally unlucky or is something inflicting misfortune on him? The film is intentionally rather reserved in giving too many clues away as to what’s going on which may leave some viewers feeling displaced but the story that later develops is detailed and impressive in its ambition.
Although it may be littered with stereotypes (the bad father and distrustful parents in law being both present and correct) and the script may be a little sanctimonious and clichéd, Ink impressively creates a complete fantasy world filled with weird and wonderful characters and believable terminology (the good spirits speaking of Storytellers and Pathfinders). Sometimes its ambition gets a little ahead of itself, trying to fill its 107 minutes with a bit too much forced information, which ultimately lets the film down. Instead of letting its story develop organically, viewers are force-fed information, stinting the overall pace of the piece.
When a little girl is kidnapped by the titular Ink, a selfish incubus who craves the beauty he once possessed, the film wriggles in several directions at once, trying to convince itself of its own brilliance. Whilst its attempts are applaudable, the general confusion may distance viewers whilst its conclusion, whilst partly predictable, doesn’t answer all the questions it poses.
Its barrage of stories, including the harassed businessman (John), the dream world and the kidnapping, to name but a few, do finally begin to compliment each other, but only if you’re prepared to sit out the first confusing half. The multi-layered story that lies at the heart of Ink bases itself on the idea of chain reactions, ultimately providing a moral that speaks of the need of change and redemption in order to lead a fulfilling life.
Meshing dreams and reality together, Ink is a commendable piece even if its execution is sometimes a little muddled.