Movies that are slightly off.
The Ninth Gate
Every book has a life of its own.
An all-expenses-paid international search for a rare copy of The Nine Gates of the Shadow Kingdom brings an unscrupulous book dealer deep into a world of murder, double-dealing and satanic worship.
''To travel in silence / by a long and circuitous route, / To brave the arrows of misfortune / and fear neither noose nor fire, / To play the greatest of all games / and win, foregoing no expense / is to mock the vicissitudes of Fate / and gain at last the key / that will unlock the Ninth Gate.''
Roman Polanski's The Ninth Gate is a film that despite its fair share of silliness, always seduces me to enter back into its sometimes campy, but mostly mysterious universe. Johnny Depp embodies Dean Corso (albeit, in a bit of a flat performance), a rare book dealer/swindler who is immersed in a quest to hunt down the remaining copies of…
The Ninth Gate is a strange one from Roman Polanski, a director who has of course dabbled in the occult landscape he again taps here, arguably to greater success. Adapted from the Spanish novel El Club Dumas by Arturo Perez-Reverte, Polanski's film is quite an elegant, cultured malaise of a story that could almost define the term 'slow burn', if it even burns at all. To many undoubtedly it's subject matter--an unscrupulous book dealer is hired to find a tome that may be able to raise the Devil--would be inherently boring and Polanski's careful construction of Johnny Depp's lead character's journey snooze inducing, yet oddly enough there is just something about the way Polanski shoots this, something about the manner…
Dirk's review of Mortdecai highlighted the decline in the fortunes of Johnny Depp's career path all too clearly. Commercial and critical success has been elusive lately for Owensboro, Kentucky's favorite son, so the chance to step back in time and enjoy one of his better but lesser known films (though not a huge hit) was too good to turn down. The Ninth Gate may be hokum, but crafted by Roman Polanski and featuring elements of the occult and an intriguing supernatural concept, it's entertaining hokum.
Depp plays a rare book dealer who gets asked by a wealthy collector to authenticate his copy of a book that can summon the devil himself. Frank Langella is the man who sends Depp to…
There's nothing more reliable than a man whose loyalty can be bought for hard cash. ~ Boris Balkan
Director Roman Polanski was still in a funk when he made this ... 25 years in exile in Europe and two decades since his last big success, "Tess." He would reemerge as a force in 2002 with "The Pianist," but there's something shy of his best effort here, despite some excellent camerawork, one awesome bit of pyrotechnics, and several great actors to work with.
Start with Johnny Depp. He's had some odd roles in his career, but I don't think I have ever seen Depp play a character so sedate and conventional as antiquarian book dealer Dean Corso. He doesn't crack a…
Somewhere in here, there is a good movie. The story is actually rather interesting, but it's ruined as the movie doesn't know whether it wants to be scary or silly, a supernatural noir or a movie about someone hunting down a book. The result is a dull mess where you don't care about the characters but is interested in where the story goes. Sadly, after a while you stop caring about that too, since it's all fairly obvious, aside from the preposterous ending.
Johnny Depp and Frank Langella are awesome though. Together they almost make the movie worth watching, if you're a fan of both and have seen every other movie with them forty times. If not, don't watch this.
::Jeff Goldblum voice:: ahh, now eventually you do plan to have Satan in your Satanic movie, right? ...hello?
I haven't seen every Polanski film, but the one's I have seen all seem to have the ability to draw me into the story so completely that when it's over, you think "That wasn't 2 and a half hours?". The ending was a bit baffling and a bit of a let down, but until then I was entranced. Naked Satanists are one of my favorite things, along with puppies, sunsets and daffodils.
This is the least spooky film involving the devil I've ever seen.
The uniformly brightly lit sets make everything look like a day time soap, and combined with the upbeat soundtrack makes it feel like I'm watching an bigger budget episode of Inspector Poirot.
Plus, at some point I'm pretty sure Depp beats someone to death with his shoe. It's a little unclear and I rewound a few times to check, but I'm sure pretty sure it's his shoe.
People looking for a book to summon the Devil. the movie made sense till the end.
Kind of a paranormal "The Ghost Writer" in the Hammer Horror vein. It's fun enough with some cringe worthy moments.
Not a horror film, but quite the adventure as we travel alongside Mr. Corso as he finds answers about The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of Shadows by 17th-century author Aristide Torchia -- only to be sucked in a whirlwind of death, mayhem, and danger. The film is slow and Johnny Depp as Corso very intriguing (until the point wherein he seems to sleep with whoever woman gives attention to him). I enjoyed looking on while Corso sorts through pages and engravings -- trying to understand the symbolism hidden in each page. This film is not for those who enjoy the latest fast paced and action packed films. I am unsure whether I am pleased with the ending, but this was a film I enjoyed watching.
It may not rate that highly on the scale of Polanski's oeuvre, but on the scale of goofy yet atmospheric and fun occult detective movies, it's the best.
There's always time for THE NINTH GATE.
Funny, it's hard for me to buy Johnny Depp as a relatively normal human being now.
Nobody does satanic cults and paranoia like Polanski, but this is an underwhelming, rather repetitive effort though it does build to an enjoyably ridiculous ending.
A lot of people hate this movie. I've always kind of liked it. It's got a great premise and some really great atmosphere. Nowhere near Polanski's best but better then its reputation would suggest.