The Ninth Gate
Release Year: 1999
Director: Roman Polanski
Writers: John Brownjohn (screenplay), Enrique Urbizo (screenplay), Roman Polanski (screenplay), Arturo Pérez-Reverte (loosely based on his 1993 novel The Club Dumas)
Starring: Johnny Depp, Frank Langella, Lena Olin, Emmanuelle Seigner, Barbara Jefford, Jack Taylor, James Russo, Allen Garfield
A dealer in and researcher of rare books is asked to authenticate a book said to be co-authored by the Devil and is drawn into a supernatural conspiracy.
Polanski proved early on in his career with Rosemary’s Baby (1968) that he had a flair for occult thrillers. The Ninth Gate is no Rosemary’s Baby but it is a well put together thriller with plenty of intriguing imagery. Depp (From Hell, 2001) is good as the unscrupulous book dealer Corso, whose drive does not come from his own love of books but rather from the thrill of the chase, or perhaps even more from a desire for money. The film has good side characters, particularly Langhella (The Box, 2009) as Corso’s sneaky and determined client and a part of slightly creepy book-selling Spanish twins stand out. The mystery of plot is good and it unfolds slowly and keeps you guessing, however the ending is a let-down and you are left with a feeling the film never really unfolded its potential. Still, Polanski knows how to make a thriller and this is recommended if you enjoy movies about the occult.
The engravings appearing in the book The Nine Gates were all commissioned for the original novel by the author himself. Only the engraving showing the girl riding a dragon was altered for the film.
Picture Copyright: Scanbox