Inkheart (PG)



Action (2008)
106mins Ger/UK/US

Starring: Brendan Fraser, Eliza Bennett, Andy Serkis, Paul Bettany, Helen Mirren, Jim Broadbent, Sienna Guillory, Rafi Gavron
Director: Iain Softley
Writer(s): David Lindsay-Abaire
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

Doting father Mo Folchart has kept a terrible secret from his daughter Meggie since she was three-years-old: he is a Silvertongue and inadvertently sent his beloved wife Teresa into the pages of a book called Inkheart. Ever since, Mo has scoured second-hand bookshops for a copy, desperate to undo his misdeeds. Stumbling upon a tatty, old copy of Inkheart, Mo finally believes he could be reunited with Teresa only for the past to catch up with him. Joining forces with a stranger called Dustfinger, Mo risks everything to outwit the villain Capricorn and his goons, and reunite his fractured family.

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LondonNet Film Review
Inkheart

Reading is a deeply personal and intensely visceral experience...

Inkheart. Photo by Close Murray. Released by Entertainment Film Distributors Ltd.As words spill from the page, our febrile imaginations conjure worlds full of danger, enduring love, otherworldly creatures or dastardly serial killers. With a really good book, we can be immersed for hours, gorging on every perfectly craft phrase. But what if you didn't have to play out the author's creation in your mind's eye? What if by reading a book, you could literally bring the story to life around you, coaxing characters off the page and into the real world? Inkheart is a fantastical family adventure based on the best-selling novel by Cornelia Funke about a secret class - the Silvertongues - who possess such a remarkable gift. Yet this special ability comes at a terrible price: for every fictional character allowed to leap across the divide, a real person must take their place in the strange two-dimensional world of ink. Suddenly that remarkable gift sounds more like a curse. Director Iain Softley marshals a largely British cast for his fast-paced and colourful adaptation, working from a screenplay by David Lindsay-Abaire.

Doting father Mo Folchart (Brendan Fraser) has kept a terrible secret from his daughter Meggie (Eliza Bennett) since she was three-years-old: he is a Silvertongue and inadvertently sent his beloved wife Teresa (Sienna Guillory) into the pages of a book called Inkheart. Ever since, Mo has scoured second-hand bookshops for a copy, desperate to undo his misdeeds. Stumbling upon a tatty, old copy of Inkheart, Mo finally believes he could be reunited with Teresa only for the past to catch up with him. A stranger called Dustfinger (Paul Bettany), who harks from Inkheart, tries to warn the Folcharts about the villain Capricorn (Andy Serkis). "We're going to Italy. You have a great-aunt there," Mo tells his daughter, taking Meggie to meet the beautiful Elinor (Helen Mirren).

Inkheart. Photo by Close Murray. Released by Entertainment Film Distributors Ltd.Unfortunately, the villain and his goons take the women hostage and force Mo to read aloud. Determined to stop Capricorn, Mo and his allies track down the author of Inkheart, Fenoglio (Jim Broadbent), hoping that he might have another copy of the book. Inkheart is a fun-filled journey between real and imaginary realms, with a gentle mix of comedy and action as Mo and his daughter use the gift they share to reunite their fractured family.

Serkis chews the scenery as the bad guy with a fascination with everyday 21st century objects ("I love duct tape!") while Fraser resorts to his usual action hero routine. Mirren demonstrates impeccable comic timing and Bettany walks the thin line between good and bad as a wanderer who reacts angrily to the suggestion that he is a selfish, repugnant, weak character. "Blame him - he wrote me that way!" screams Dustfinger, pointing at Fenoglio. Softley sustains our interest for 106 minutes before an orgy of computer-generated special effects vies for our attention.

- Sam Cannon


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