The tattoo is an ancient art form that is only recently becoming more accepted in modern society. It has been the symbol of warriors and hunters, tribal identifiers, a talisman for protection, a spiritual experience, a brand for slaves or convicts, prisoner coding, and a rite of initiation for drunk and stupid people everywhere. It can be exotic and sexy, or just plain cheap and nasty, but it’s a strong statement for anyone to have on their body, because expensive and painful removal aside, that mark is something you’re gonna be stuck with for a very long time.
Popular with many subcultures, it’s so easy to judge those with visible ink, rather than get to know the person wearing it; and although it’s become de rigueur to get a tramp stamp or cute little Rihanna lyric on your toned little arms, you won’t always get the reaction you’re looking for when going for a job or making the right impression in a more professional situation. Especially if you consider words like ‘shine bright like a diamond’ worthy of immortality, because you’ll look as dumb as the chick singing them did when she deemed Chris ‘I’m a wife beater’ Brown worthy of anyone’s time.
The Tattooist follows a troubled, young ink slinger, who is intrigued by the idea of the ancient civilisations using symbolism in tattoos to heal the body. At an expo in Singapore, he meets a group of Samoans through following their pretty assistant, who are using the traditional tattooing tools of their people, and steals one of them, as you do. After cutting himself with the tool, the tattoos he does seem to be more agony than awesome, and he’s forced to go and tell the hot girl that he’s a dirty little thief, who helps him fight prejudice and killer ink, to somehow solve an old crime.
This is a much more entertaining film that it seems at first, and is well paced, and well scripted, with an interesting concept. Jason Behr (Roswell, Skinwalkers, The Grudge) is a little wooden as a lead, and made the role a lot more joyless than it needed to be, but the plot was compelling enough to keep you interested; though I felt their could have been a lot more humour, as the contrived intensity was a little stifling at times.
It was thoughtful, and gets definite points for originality, but it is plodding and quite slow at times, and there wasn’t always enough to fill these moments to keep the audience entertained. The cultural aspects were intriguing, and though it wasn’t very violent, or graphic in terms of horror, there were some decent FX in the death scenes, and overall I enjoyed the watchable little ghost tale it became.
Think before you ink kids, because murderous body art aside, there is no worse horror story than that Hello Kitty tattoo you got when you were 16, sagging on your chest when your 50.
The puns alone would be brutal…