sci-fi indie that surprised me with its originality and knocked me out with its passionate form. It's well acted and holds your attention with rapid, blink-of-the-eye edits. It never lets down in imagination, and keeps you constantly guessing ahead while thoroughly enjoying the moment you're in.
It's a multi-dimensional tale about a little girl, her up and down relationship with her dad, and the supernatural beings that influence their decisions, their surroundings, and their future together. The beings are somewhat typical of the "good vs. bad" scenario that reminds me of angels and demons in the old Frank Peretti book,
This Present Darkness. In this case the would-be angels are called "Storytellers," beings which can influence good dreams at night and fight for your healthy existence on earth, and the would-be demons are "Incubi," who give you bad dreams and want to steal and destroy your hope.
There's also a third set of characters who kind of wander between these two extremes. The main character, Ink, is one of these -- or at least you think he is for a time -- and when little girl Emma falls into a coma, he kidnaps her to his hidden dark world. Warfare in the heavens, or at least in other dimensions (depending on your interpretation), ensues.
Whether it is intended I don't know, but there's a wealth of Judeo-Christian symbolism to be found. Aside from the rather obvious Peretti-style symbolism, there's also the Storytellers' complete dedication to their selfless cause, eventually leading to sacrifice in order to save someone else. There's also one rich scene in particular that describes the common rhythm of life, the ebb and flow we collectively experience. Finding that rhythm, breathing in that moment, understanding your place in life and following your calling is the implied expression of a believer's role in the world.
Ink is its own film, but immediate comparisons have to be made. It simply harkens back to other sources. The highly stylized expressionism reminded me of The Cell, maybe even The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari; the dimensional soul-searching, the longing to get a grip on life and death made it seem like a much better version of The Fountain; the behind the scenes Incubi and Storytellers are reminiscent of the wonder of the angels in Wings of Desire; but most of all I was reminded of Dark City, in its hope for human redemption in fighting against the darkness, and in the sacrifice that brings overcoming change.
It also feels like Primer or Memento, in that you know you want to revisit it again -- maybe more than once, maybe even once a year.
A husband and wife team called the Winans pulled the whole production together. You can tell from their commentary on the DVD Extras -- a commentary I still want to finish just to see if they mention any of the Christian-like ideas -- that they enjoy each other and loved working together on Ink, and they're very proud of their accomplishment. They should be. The post-production work is phenomenal, and for an indie sci-fi film, it's an incredibly masterful experience.