If there is a must see movie on Netflix, it is Ink. If I had to choose one movie in all the movies on Netflix for you to watch it would be Ink. This is one of those films that transcends being just another movie and is a genuine experience to behold. It is right up there with films like Lo as being one of the most memorable movies I have ever watched. It is original, simple yet complex at the same time, and at its core has an emotional anchor that manages to ground the fantastical elements in this movie and make them matter.
To call Ink one of the best movies I have ever seen is an understatement. To call it a masterpiece is like calling the Mona Lisa a painting. To put it simply: Ink is why I watch movies. Of all the gems on Netflix, Ink is the crown jewels. There isn't enough good things I can write about this film.
Of course, despite this movie being one of the best films I have ever seen, the particulars of how I came across it is rather ironic. Ink was put into my queue with the intention of riffing on what seemed like yet another lackluster science fiction fantasy movie. It didn't help that during my first time watching it I was actually going out of my way to riff on this movie in the most horrendous way possible. Of course, at first glance, Ink doesn't really have much going for it in the looks department.
Most of the special effects in this movie could be easily recreated on my bootlegged copy of After Effects. That isn't to say that the effects in Ink are terrible. On the contrary, they work for what the movie is going for and are actually rather imaginative. It's the simplicity that gives them its charm, even if they do appear cheap they work.
The biggest hurdle to overcome however are the makeup effects in Ink. While they aren't horrendous the titular character Ink has one glaring aspect that is bound to make anyone laugh at first glance. Ink has the largest nose ever created for film that looks like someone tried to recreate Mr. Burns' vulture-esque snout in real life. It was the crux of many jokes I made about this movie on my first viewing. However, as the story progressed and I began to learn about Ink's tortured past, the large nose became a part of the character and showed just how twisted Ink's spirit had become through self-loathing and despair. Once again, it worked because it made sense in the context of the story.
The story, in of itself, is the main reason why I love Ink. It is original yet simple despite its more mind-bendy ideas. The premise revolves around the existence of spiritual beings known as the Storytellers who bring good dreams to people as they slumber and provide them with positive emotions to help them live better lives. The Storytellers aren't alone, however, there is another group called the Incubi who are their polar opposites who spread despair and nightmares with their very presence. The battle between good and evil here is played out while we sleep with the Storytellers standing guard over us.
Into this world arrives Ink, a lost soul who has been twisted by despair and has become a force of evil who desires to become an Incubus in the hope that they can relieve him of his never-ending pain. In order to become one, however, Ink must kidnap the soul of a little girl and bring her to the Incubi. However, the Storytellers are hot on Ink's trail as they try to rescue the girl from his clutches. The only hope the little girl truly has, though, rests on the shoulders of her estranged father whom the Storytellers realize is her only hope to wake up from the nightmare world of the Incubi.
I won't go any further into the plot because I hope to have piqued your interest enough to watch this movie. Needless to say, Ink is a very unique film to behold.
The idea of the Storytellers and Incubi isn't so much as told to us as it is shown. The first scenes in the movie show us the basic rules of the world of the Storytellers and how they work. It is clear enough to visually understand that you really don't need exposition. That doesn't mean that there isn't exposition to help people understand. There is just enough for people to understand how this world works.
There are some aspects in the movie that are kept in the dark until you get much further into the movie. One example is the introduction of Jacob the Pathfinder. Jacob is a very interesting character because he comes off as a sort of Yoda-like character with an infinite amount of wisdom who is wrapped in a layer of crazy. He is effectively blind, shown via the electrical tape covering his eyes, but is able to sense what he calls "the beat of the world" which allows him to navigate and is also the source of his powers. However, all of this is left for the audience to make sense of as time goes on because there is no one in the movie to explain exactly what a Pathfinder is. It can be irritating at times though by the end enough is shown to understand. In the end, you come to like Jacob because he has some of the more interesting lines in the movie and is an integral part of one of the film's more memorable scenes.
However, the most important characters in the movie are Ink, the little girl Emma, and her father John. All three of which are skillfully portrayed. Then there is Leiv, a Storyteller who comes to Emma's aid and tries to understand Ink's motivations and dissuade him from delivering Emma to the Incubi. Their journey is the emotional heart of this film and the primary reason why it manages to be so successful.
Follow this up with some really well shot fight scenes that carry weight and drama behind them and you've got a movie that manages to stand up next to great science-fiction/fantasy films like Inception. While it may not have the same budget and spectacle like a film like Inception it has what matters: heart and emotion.
This is the only movie that has ever made me cry, and that is something to say after I watched Wall-E without shedding a single tear. I'm the kind of person who doesn't cry at the end of Old Yeller because it just seemed like the logical next step after a dog gets rabies. When I watch Titanic I'm angry, not sad, when Leo Dicaprio freezes to death because he didn't have the common sense to find his own piece of floating debris to sit on. So understand that when I say that Ink managed to make tears stream down my face and pull the cobwebby strings on my heart that that's saying something.
That is why I think Ink is one of the best films I have ever seen and that is why I recommend, no I demand that you put it in your instant queue.