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?
Remember when Johnny Depp didn't put on pounds of make-up to get believably into a character?
I really don't understand Polanaki's choices in this film- but I find them decidedly compelling. Like, John Depp-- what the fuck is that performance? The visual effects? Huh? In the commentary he praises how much he loves them... The story? Kinda amazing. I have no idea what Polanski wanted to do with this- but it's odd and unique. Interestingly enough I think this should have a remake. The story would be way spookier now, cause of like, the Internet.
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
“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.”
Johnny Depp reads from The Nine Gates to the Kingdom of Shadows.
Dean Corso (Johnny Depp) is a rare-book dealer with questionable morals. At the beginning of the film he is seen bamboozling a full-volume set of Don Quixote from the unsuspecting family of a stroke victim for a pittance of what it’s worth. However, his unscrupulous nature isn’t a…
My wife says I'm evil for liking this movie.
Johnny Depp is bookish rogue Dean Corso, a mercenary book hunter and dealer of rare occult tomes based in New York City. When he’s hired by sinister academic Boris Balkan (Frank Langella) to hunt down and inspect a duo of old books reputedly co-authored by the Devil himself, his nefarious investigation leads him from New York City to Europe. He tangles with a frisky, satanic Lena Olin and supernaturally gifted guardian angel Emmanuelle Seigner on his way to discovering the deadly secret of The Ninth Gate.
The cast are almost uniformly good and the interesting tone slides enigmatically between adventure, intrigue and horror. Yet Polanski still puts his characteristic stamp on The Ninth Gate with a typical sensibility of blackly…
If Roman Polanski's name can be associated with anything - apart from engaging in illegal sexual affairs with a minor in Jack Nicholson's bedroom - it would be his fondness of paranoid hitchcockian mysteries, of which "The ninth gate" is a very competent example. And even though I had seen this particular film quite a few times already, it still is an entertaining and thoroughly engaging thriller of a literary variety that Ron Howard and Dan Brown should really look up to; the former to the film and the latter to its source material written by Arturo Perez-Reverte.
As flawed as "The Ninth Gate" is, it's a film I always come back to every other year. I love books and I'm a sucker for films about demons and demonology so Polanski's film is very much my cup of tea. Johnny Depp adeptly plays a very deadpan book detective hired by a rich collector to travel around Europe in search of the remaining copies of a book that's supposed to summon the Devil.
Fortunately, the film never turns into a grotesque festival of cheap special effects. The occult elements remain mostly hidden from view. Some aspects of the story are less interesting than others and I never warmed up to Seigner's character but "The Ninth Gate" remains a guilty pleasure of mine.
The 2016 (2nd) edition of the list. You can see the original and more info here.
With a list of…