While the opening sequence is surprising and sets the standard high, the rest of it lives up to it without a problem. There's not a feeling of being let down or fooled, the film builds on this opening, offers more of a similar standard throughout the film. It then builds the story to be the focus of the film rather than relying on the effects or the cleverness of the opening. Basically, Ink gets better, just at a time when you might have expected a film with limited budget might be getting worse.
It's the style and the character introduction that draws you right from the opening moments, with some interesting setup scenes that start you thinking about the character and the story very quickly and within minutes has your expectations changed around. After we're done with the first character introduction the film changes again and it's here where Ink seems to be delivering its biggest sequence.
I was surprised at how the story suddenly opened up from those character introduction scenes and its scope became so large, beginning a story of good and evil forces wandering the streets unseen and influencing the lives and dreams of people. The effects of this sequence surprised me, in the way the characters appeared on the street and how they fought and interacted with objects when the child was snatched.
It's quite a leap from the more traditional storytelling of opening scenes to then see the universe and the scope of the film so suddenly altered, and it's a good thing, make no mistake. When the story explodes so does your mind and the thought of the possibilities of where this could be going.
There are some great effects that are introduced during this sequence and they are used very wisely both here and in the rest of the film, never overly shown off but shown enough to make an impression and then not too much as to take over the story or to increase the budget. It's the style and the imagination behind the interaction with real world objects during the fighting, the portals, and the faces of the other unseen group of people that make them so impactful and hold you to them throughout.
Still these opening sequences did make me think that the film might have thrown everything at the opening in order to get the audience hooked and then not be able to live up to that scene for a while. I was wrong about that and the film doesn't lose the strength of these sequences delivering more effects and fight sequences throughout the film. It does ease up as the film moves on, but what's really happening is that the story and the characters are coming through more and more and the effects and action take a second spot.
The effects are very good, surprisingly good actually as they cover both visual and audio and make a real impact. The most inventive and clever are for the more evil characters that have some unique styling that really captures your eye and your imagination as well as making these characters look menacing and creepy in every shot.
Story wise the film is as strong as the visuals in the film. It has some exciting ideas that may have been seen individually in other films before but together the film-makers have delivered a unique story that keeps your attention to the end without delivering too many explanations or delving into history and reasoning to explain what is happening, rather we just see the story unfolding with our characters as they do, organically.
The story has been very cleverly thought through and developed, from the style of the characters to how they interact with our world and why they are here, and there were many moments in the film where I was surprised by how creative and well thought through the world within Ink has been developed.
Not just that but the way the characters interact; the woman with the child on their journey; the father and his interactions with the daughter, and the blindfolded man. While sometimes the audio sounded overly dubbed and a little distanced from the visual side of the film, and the routine of the blindfolded man occasionally became annoying, it always did bring you back with the story.
It's near the end that it does become a little confusing, and perhaps we could have done with a little more help, but it doesn't spoil your enjoyment of the film and you do catch up with it, understanding what is happening perhaps just as the other characters do and so therefore when the film-makers wanted us to.
The story does end well leaving it rather open and underplayed as much as the introductions and not making any huge explanations about the world we are in. I do like this, as though we had dipped in and out of the universe just for this one story, and it's a rich universe filled with other stories leaving you deep in the feeling that there is much more to offer and more to be heard of these groups.
Ink is a surprisingly rich experience which feels like a much bigger film than you first expect. It's filled with creativity and strong visuals with the creators having developed this rich universe in which to place their story, and while we don't see half of that vastness, what we do see is superbly written and ingeniously put together.
There is a lot of uniqueness to this film, from the style to the visuals to the story, and Ink should be seen for that reason. There are some faults with the dubbing and at times the pace of the film, however overall Ink is a surprising film that punches far over its weight. What it shows is that there is still a great deal of imagination in film-making, especially American film.
Ink is a small blot of imaginative and clever film-making that delivers far more than you expect.