The Scarlet & Black

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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

So much for reality

I first heard about Ink while working at the Northwest Film Forum in Seattle this past summer. While attempting to write a blurb about it for their calendar without having seen the film, I looked to other reviews to figure out the gist of it. I found that critics were salivating all over this juicy slice of indie sci-fi. Compared to movies like The Matrix, Brazil and Pan’s Labyrinth but made on a shoestring budget, Ink is about the two opposing forces that inspire our dreams at night. Storytellers are the benevolent givers of good dreams, while sinister Incubi attack us with nightmares. When an Incubi bounty hunter steals away a little girl, her dad must come to terms with his own failures as a father in order to save her.
Ever since discovering its existence this summer, I have been dying to see this film. I wish I could say I have and present you with a stellar—or who knows, maybe not so stellar—review of this Ink, but the DVD was just released this week and did not arrive in time for a preview. That being said, I am stoked to go see it today at 4:30 and if you watch the trailer once, I bet you will be too.
Granted, the trailer does lend itself to making unflattering comparisons to that angsty high school geek who scribbled Avenged Sevenfold lyrics over the picture of his ex taped right next to the Donnie Darko poster in his locker. But that may just be because Ink’s dark DIY special effects and otherworldly premise really do resonate with the darkest depths of our minds at night— or in high school. Director Jamin Winans shot the film on DV in and around Denver, then edited and scored it himself. Critics have described the plot as complex but well executed—you can imagine how a story structured on dream logic would unfold, somewhat disorienting but strangely familiar.
When the good guy Storytellers gather to rescue Emma, several highly praised fight sequences with the Incubi ensue. Winans and talented cinematographer Jeff Pointer make up for their lack of bullet-time photography with whip smart editing techniques and atmospheric lighting.
Even given my concern with the white-male hegemony in filmmaking, I still dig plenty of white dude movies. I can’t wait to discover if Ink holds out on its promise to sweep you away into a universe that so creatively and resourcefully approximates the substance of our sleeping selves. There’s a reason that watching movies is constantly compared to dreaming–both are transfixing activities that surround you in darkness and by eroding the limits of waking reality, open up new possibilities for experience.
I have a feeling that Ink has been called “the new ‘it’ movie” because it so brilliantly depicts this departure from consciousness. Something tells me this isn’t just a movie about dreaming, but rather, the two-way street between movie-land and dream-land.

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