TIM s gone haywire, reviewing a movie that isn t released here (yet) and isn t even announced for a UK release! Has he gone mad? Alas no, but it s with piqued curiosity and media interest that I thought it worthwhile reviewing Ink, from

Ink - Cert TBC

'TIM's gone haywire, reviewing a movie that isn't released here (yet) and isn't even announced for a UK release! Has he gone mad?'

Alas no, but it's with piqued curiosity and media interest that I thought it worthwhile reviewing Ink, from both an unknown director and cast.

Why? Well, news articles across the pond have stated two things about this, until very recently, completely unknown indie flick. Firstly it's been favourably compared to Donnie Darko and Pan's Labrinyth; two arguably modern masterpieces. The former with debut director Richard Kelly and, then, unknown Jake Gylenhaal - was released in UK and US cinemas but thanks to word-of-mouth it became huge. Secondly, cyber word-of-mouth has raised the spotlight on Ink. Director and writer Jamin Winans has gone on the record to personally thank all these downloaders who've spread this wildfire across the internet in the past couple of weeks - leading movie site IMDB claiming an astonishing rise of 80,000 per cent in interest to the film in the last week (and rising steadily).

So before the wave of hype sweeps over the country (which may not happens but it could) I thought I'd jump in early and see what all the fuss is about.

There's only one way to find out, so with no knowledge of plot or content I go in blind.

Thoughts Afterwards

THE independent movie world is in the middle of a revolution and I believe, thanks to the brilliant competence of Ink, there will be a shift in the future of film-making; from big budget, high-paid stars and zillions of sequels to quality originals with feeling and heart.

Ink's comparisons with Donnie Darko are indeed true, and I'd say there are equal similarities with the surprisingly good Ashton Kutcher vehicle The Butterfly Effect and even with the supreme Jim Carrey led Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

It's a daunting prospect to attempt to describe the plot, as to do it will lessen the impact of the multi-layered aspects of the story. It's a combination of genres and is both a startling fantasy to a touching family drama.

One is the human story of a father and the daughter he seemingly walked away from in favour of a better career. As the daughter (a wonderful performance by Quinn Hunchar, definitely a potential star-of-the-future) falls suddenly ill, her father (another good performance by Chris Kelly) hears the news on a very important career day. Little does he know that the choice to see her in hospital decides her fate.

The more intriguing layer of the plotline revolves around the secret battle between the Storytellers (the invisible figures who give us good dreams) and the Incubus (the similarly invisible demons who give people negative thoughts and nightmares). When the Storytellers witness the Hagrid-looking 'Ink' take a small girl (the aforementioned daughter, innocently led away in her dreams) they must figure out a way to save her soul (and her life) before it's too late.

Sounds baffling? Sounds like it's potentially frustratingly confusing?

I was too for the first half hour, worried that the wildly imaginative opening would not hold up until the end.

Well I can promise that the final 45 minutes are some of the most tense, touching and simply 'best' moment of film reel I've seen all year. I remember having to watch Donnie Darko a few times to attempt any understanding of the plot (questioning whether it simply made no sense really) but Ink leaves no huge moments of bafflement, thankfully, just satisfaction. There'll be discussions afterwards on how good it was and not what it all meant.

But the conclusions brilliantly structured tying-up-of-loose-ends was one of the years highlights, including an amazing scene involving the 'beat' of the world.

And for such a small budget (less than £300,000) and a plot that demanded numerous effects and locations, the film looks brilliant. Not big budget cinema effects, of course, but that added charm to the whole thing. The evil Incubus are a compelling visual treat and have something about their look that could make them movie villain icons.

It's not without it's flaws, of course, and I'd be lying to say it's close to perfection. The acting is often solid but there are some dodgy moments, and some of the sets do look slightly cheap. The script is occasionally wooden too, not overly off-putting but those moments do differentiate Ink from the meticulously edited and crafted cinematic outings.

Winans has created one of the best films of the year.

5/5 Stars

TIM LINCE