Film & TV Reviews


Directed, Written & Produced
by Jamin Winans
Double Edge Films, 2009


Hollywood almost always butchers fantasy. Enthralled by big names and CGI, most producers drown wonder in cacophony. For years, filmmaker Jamin Winans tried to interest studios in his modest phantasia, Ink. Frustrated, he decided to make it himself, and that frustration paid off in a masterpiece.

Ink, quite simply, is the best urban fantasy film I’ve ever seen. A melancholic faerie tale of redemption, loss, and magic, it succeeds on every level. Shorn of big-budget nonsense, Ink borrows from the Italian legends of Benandandi, the dream-walking guardians of innocence. When aspiring incubus Ink kidnaps Emma, the young daughter of a fractured executive named John, a surreal battle erupts between these dream-walkers and their sinister counterparts, the incubi. Meanwhile, John, Emma, several guardians, and Ink himself must rise beyond their limitations and embrace their deepest selves.

Like its closest peers — Pan’s Labyrinth, Night Watch, City of Lost Children, and MirrorMaskInk evokes archetypes while skirting clichés. Jamin Winans strikes an authentically American tone in his film; John, Emma, Ink, and the dreamers (good and bad) are not products of bygone medieval Europe, but of postmodern America. John, especially, is ravaged by this era; an outwardly-prosperous corporate raider, he’s a walking ruin. Bravely portrayed by Chris Kelly, John becomes his own hero, villain, and battleground in one. In contrast with most faerie-tale films, Ink finds its magic Here and Now.

Ink’s centerpiece involves a breathtaking sequence that, with hardly a word, captures the essence of real magic. No spoilers here, for this scene alone, I give Ink my highest possible recommendation. The film’s merits don’t stop there; each element involved (save some low-budget make-up) blows the vast majority of Hollywood-manufactured products away. Sublime in the best sense of that word, it speaks to anyone who understands true magic.

A self-financed film, Ink can be found online, and rented or bought through various video services. I recommend supporting the movie and its creators directly by checking out www. and purchasing the film. If you like what you see, please spread the word. In a realm glutted with dreck like Clash of the Titans or that wretched Percy Jackson flick, Ink’s small magic deserves to be seen.



» Originally published in Witches & Pagans #23

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