The Ninth Gate
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  • keeps you guessing
    this is a great movie if you are into dective/thriller type movies. it does move a bit slow in parts. the movie is about a "book detective" so to speak. he is hired to track down a book that was supposdly written by the devil himself....more info
  • Heaven, Hellish or Cult motivated?
    I am a MAJOR Johnny Depp fan! He held his own in this movie which is more than I can say for the rest of the cast and plot!
    The other cast member's certainly lack emotion However, Depp makes up for their "lackluster" acting with his Star Power!
    Depp get's caught up in researching/comparing Three "one of a kind" surviving books, checking for tail tell signs of their being authentic - When ALL three seem to be authentic Depp conclude's their purpose is to be used together to conjure up Lucifer.
    Is Depp's charater evil at this point to continue his research after murder's have been commited, people are chasing him as well, and a mysterious girl who seems to be helping her OWN agenda by helping Depp is always lurking around the corner!? I think he is as confused as to what is going on as well as the viewer!
    He is trying to keep the Three book's out of the wrong hands so as not to cause any evil doing's and is only sure that they are safe with him. So I don't think he's evil. I think he has been used as a pawn.
    ALSO, (In regard's to another reviewer's point... "Lucifer" may mean "Light Bearing" and, you left out, "Morning Star" - BUT - let's not forget that "Lucifer" is ALSO the "FALLEN REBEL ARCHANGEL", "THE DEVIL". If YOU are not a "Professionly paid movie reviewer" I suggest YOU not write review's...YOUR ARROGANCE is embarissing! Not all of us are un-educated you know! We just want a synopsis of the movie.
    If you have to do Occult research to "GET" this movie that's your choice - But, It's really NOT that complicated to get -
    DO, However, remember Polanski was involved in occult dealing's when his "girlfrind" Sharon Tate was killed by Manson and his group - Cult motivated? I think so.
    I HOPE I spelled everything right and "did my homework" as EVERYONE should be able to leave a review of their own without being a scholar or an occult member....more info
  • Johnny Depp is great!
    I love Johnny Depp! This is quite a thriller but Depp is believeable in any role. I thoroughly enjoyed it....more info
  • EXCELLENT WORK
    THIS MOVIE IS NOT FOR THE PERSON THAT PAYS NO ATTENTION TO DETAIL. YOU MUST STAY FOCUSSED FROM START TO FINISH OR PIVOTAL CLUES TO THE MISTERY WILL QUICKLY GO AND NOT COME BACK. A TRUE SUSPENSE. IT WILL CERTAINLY RAISE QUESTIONS ABOUT WHAT HIDDEN SECRETS MAY BE OUT THERE. IF YOU PAY CLOSE ATTENTION YOU WILL FEEL PART OF THE STORY AND DEPPS'PARTNER AS A DETECTIVE. EXCELLENT!...more info
  • A perfect balance between the occult and psychological thriller
    This film is vintage Polanski: there is little moral certitude, even if you are dealing with Satan, ruthless and evil acolytes, and a con man, expertly acted by Depp. Instead, you find a coherent and frightening journey of discovery and ambiguity. Depp is charged with examining the authenticity of some rare books, which is his profession, though he is also an unscrupulous and sleazy near-thief. As with all great actors, his every gesture exudes his personal confusion, ambition, and cynical humor - a complete personality and even an entire environment.

    After witnessing a number of alarming crimes, he single-mindedly pursues his task (for which he is handsomely paid) and blithely ignores the destruction and murderous detritus as if walking though an obstacle course. Along the way, he keeps running into a mysterious and very beautiful woman, who seems to be protecting him, yet also playfully mocking him before disappearing only to reappear in dangerous moments. Looking not quite human yet vulnerable to injury, she seems to enjoy the evolution of Depp's character in a violent, unpredictable direction. There is a frightening scene where she annoints him with her blood. And the book: the more he discovers, the deeper he gets in becoming almost a direct participant in the antique illustrations in the book, which he scrutinizes as more manuscripts come to light. Depp's character emerges as something more than he appeared to be, though entirely lacking in simple definition. It is truly masterful.

    The most beautiful aspect of the film is the sense - the feeling - of ominous mystery that pervades it. In other words, there are many clues that must be interpreted, and the viewer never reaches the point of saying, "oh, I get it", which in lesser films is followed by "that's it?" I found this delightfully fascinating and evocative, particularly as much of it takes place in a region similar to the one I currently live in in France. Typical of Polanski, this elevates the film to a higher art than other occult films, much as Rosemary's Baby did. The mood of the film is completely consistent and demands (and deserves) the viewer's full attention.

    Warmly recommended. It is one of the best films I have seen in some time....more info
  • "Even Hell Has Its Heroes" ~ The Dangers of Book Trafficking With The Devil
    Ah..., the left-hand path, how delicious! This is one of the best, decidedly occult films I've seen in a long time. What self proclaiming occultist wouldn't be fascinated with the concept of the existence of a rare book titled, The Ninth Gate, claimed to be co-authored by Lucifer. Only three are said to exist. A wealthy American occultist named Boris Balkan (Frank Langella) has obtained one copy. He hires nefarious book seller Dean Corso (Johnny Depp) to travel to Europe and examine the other two copies to see if they are originals, or forgeries. At least that's the reason he gives to the unexpecting book dealer.

    Amazing film, dark, evil, atmospheric and hypnotic from beginning to end. You almost expect Aleister Crowley or Kenneth Grant to step out of the shadows at any moment. It gives me goose bumps just to think about it.

    Johnny Depp is magnificent. Also strong performances by Lena Olin, Frank Langella and Emmanuelle Seigner.

    A thinking persons occult movie. Highly Recommended!...more info
  • The Ninth Gate
    Slick and fascinating with great special effects. As always, Johnny Depp keeps the film alive....more info
  • Not Of The Usual Polanski Caliber
    Many people, when discussing this film, seem to stand on eithier the 'no action = stinks' side of the podium or the 'love Polanski = love everything he touches' side.
    I myself am neither. I am a Polanski fan but felt 'Ninth Gate' is a somewhat failed attempt at the psychological horror Polanski is capable of. Many works of Polanski, both new and old, excell head and shoulders above this film. Don't misunderstand me. There are nice moments in this film. Some people may fall in love so much with these moments they tend to look over the idiotic moments that can be found here.
    For those of you wandering how good the film is - please rent first and make up your own mind before buying. There are moments in the film that succumb to Hollywood popish cinema - such as two ridiculous scenes involving a woman floating on air (subtlety be gone) and the horrid burning scene near the finale (way over the top).
    I really tried to keep this film in my collection of Polanski. But next to films such as 'Repulsion', 'Knife In The Water', 'The Pianist' and others, it seems to fall short. You can see the Polanski touch around the corners here but it seems as if this were more an attempt to cash in on the glory days of his early horror works but reformed for a modern audience - it fits well in with today's hollywood horror, with or without the action.
    Gladly Polanski reveals, through 'The Pianist', that he can still grab an audience and do so in a realistic gripping manner - a true life horror of sorts - no goofy moments here. For those who are better chilled by a sense of realism, whether in fiction, non-fiction, fantasy context or otherwise, may want to look elsewhere in the Polanski library. Horror fantasy works best in subtle strokes. ...more info
  • Ninth Gate
    Loved the movie for its atmosphere. I read one review in a literary magazine that explained the mysteries to my satisfaction. The main character's name is "Corso" - sounds similar to "cursed one" even though in the movie, he said that it means "one who travels". Johnny Depp looks like the quintessential devil with his goatee and dark hair with gray around the side. The review I read said that the devil had lost his way on earth and needed to get "home". The "guardian angel" provided clues to him and safeguarded him. Remember how surprised she looked when he accidentally bumped into her, causing her nose to bleed. Like she was not used to having any "mortals" injure her like that. Also, he always played up vices, like constantly smoking, drinking, cheating people. One of the drawings showed the "guardian angel" riding the three headed beast (literally - and this is a biblical symbol for the devil)and pointing back to the castle or the ninth gate. When Boris Balkan wanted to meet the devil so badly, he never realized that he really had. An interesting thought, anyway....more info
  • The Doors
    I liked "The Ninth Gate" for its incredibly long credit sequence at the beginning of the film. The music is dramatic as it sweeps through door after door after door, all of which look exactly the same. After about the fourth door, it becomes silly and laughter sets in. It's like listening to an old vinyl record that is skipping, but not getting up to move the needle.

    After this, the movie goes downhill a bit, but Roman Polanski puts on a good show. Particularly interesting is the consummation sequence in which his real-life wife Emmanuelle Seigner plays the green-eyed girl & does the deed with Depp to a background of flames. It's not many men who would want their wives to do that, but Polanski's viewpoint has always been unique. He is a great filmmaker. His Best Director Oscar for "The Pianist," nominations for "Chinatown" & "Tess" plus his screenplay nomination for the legendary "Rosemary's Baby" prove the point. Even if 9th Gate begins to get a bit muddled, he has more than fulfilled his promise since his first film "Knife in Water" got a Best Foreign Language Film nomination back in 1963.

    Johnny Depp is also usually very interesting to watch. He scored a couple Best Actor nominations for very different roles from "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" in 2003 to "Finding Neverland" in 2004. As book dealer Dean Corso, I found the character's moral ambiguity to make him unattractive. You couldn't really cheer for him; but he was interesting as he worked his way through the maze of facts in this old book mystery.

    Frank Langella has had a long career from "Diary of a Mad Housewife" back in 1970 to "Good Night & Good Luck" in 2005. As the rich book collector Boris Balkan, he was very cerebral, but lacked a certain evil pizzazz to really make you cheer as he bursts into flames. It felt more like he was pathetically weird. Maybe that was what Polanski wanted.

    Lena Olin is such an interesting actress to watch. She makes you feel like at any moment she could do almost anything. She would work again with Depp in "Chocolat" and had a sole Oscar nomination in the supporting category in 1989 for "Enemies: A Love Story." The role of Liana Telfer maximizes her strengths. She goes from making love to Depp to trying to kill him with a hair-trigger temper. Tony Amoni as her bodyguard with the cropped blond hair makes a visual impression.

    British stage actress Barbara Jeffords who appeared in films sporadically from "Hamlet" in 1959 to "Madame Bovary" in 2000, makes a memorable appearance as Baroness Kessler, another book collector. The last sequence with her wheelchair banging repetitively into the wall as Corso awakes to find the flat aflame is visually brilliant. James Russo who played Sheriff Poole in one of my favorite films, "Open Range," puts in a good appearance as Bernie the bookseller who doesn't last too long holding onto Corso's rare tome.

    "The Ninth Gate" isn't the most dreadful film ever. Polanski is far too good a director for that to occur. But it bogs down in plot details that never really seem to fit together. For instance, how did all the pictures in the books once the three editions came together actually enable Boris Balkan? Or they didn't, which is why he burned up -- and if that's the case, then was the film really all about something that didn't exist? Yet, we see the Green Eyed girl flitting about; so we must conclude that something was going on, but what? Did Depp's Corso become like Mia Farrow in "Rosemary's Baby"? Who knows? After a movie as long as this, it should have been clear. Perhaps we should just go to "Pirates 3" and not worry about it. Next!


    ...more info
  • Woman is the Devil
    There's something so cruel about Roman Polanski's "Ninth Gate", something so mean underneath the surface, that though it isn't always a frightening film, it certainly ranks up there with some of the more campy and direct movies about Old Scratch.

    Unlike "The Pianist" or some of Polanski's more recent mainstream films, this makes no direct attempt to spoonfeed the viewer the meaning or message of the film. For all the eccentricity, though--and there's plenty of it--this actually isn't too tough to figure out.

    Johnny Depp plays Dean Corso, a lowlife rare book collector who, like everyone else in the film, wants what he wants when he wants it. He is a dry, ironic, cynical intellectual whose dominant personality trait is his ego and desire for money. Depp's performance is amazing despite how little he is given to work with; the laughs never stop as his curt, smartass responses to every question asked flow like a bilious current.
    Contracted by a power hungry devotee of the Black Arts (Frank Langella in one of his ugliest and most frightening roles) Boris Balkan, his mission is to find an authentic copy of a book called "The Ninth Gate", a text which supposedly leads directly to the presence and power of Satan himself.

    Here the mad surreality and black humor begin. It resembles very closely Roman Polanski's 1976 film "The Tenant", except this film has an almost complete absence of protagonists or decent characters at all. Everyone is more less a degenerate. During Corso's ominous escapades and his encounters with thoroughly sinister and foul people (all of whom die when Balkan discovers that they are not cooperating with Corso's search, leading one to believe he is indeed the Devil), a young woman who looks like a raggedy college student follows him constantly. At first she appears merely scary and irritating, like everyone else in this doomed, musty landscape: when Corso is physically attacked, however, we realize she is not an agent of Balkan's or a college student. She displays supernatural powers and yet she reacts to the constant deaths that occur with a kind of attentiveness towards Corso's reactions, looking for guilt or disgust and finding none--and she seems pleased.

    The ending of the movie is so funny and so filthy at the same time that we know Polanski is refusing to compromise one little bit. Corso, at first a neutral amoral character, becomes obsessed with his quest for the book and gets in Balkan's way--his ending is particularly hilarious. Polanski also takes a shot at Satanists, as Balkan exclaims to a crowd of them, dressed in pentagrams and black robes: "Do you really think the Prince of Darkness would manifest himself in the midst of this nonsense?"

    A good look at Corso's "Guardian Angel" at the end reveals just who she is and what her true intentions were the whole time. I'm not going to reveal what happens, but I am surprised so many viewers were "dumbfounded" by this movie. A great exercise in Polanskian madness!

    ...more info
  • An effective mystery; less so as demonic thriller
    I saw Roman Polanski's "The Ninth Gate" -- a horror film often poorly compared to his earlier "Rosemary's Baby" -- on a Saturday night when it began at 10 p.m. It is a good flick for late night on a Saturday -- it's about an unscrupulous rare book dealer (Johnny Depp in an effective role) that makes a deal with a similarly unscrupulous collector (Mr. Overactor Frank Langella) to visit Europe and determine if Langella's first edition book is authentic.

    Only catch is it's a first edition of a book written in the 1500s that portends a visit by the devil from those who read it. Depp takes the case (and a big check with a promise of more to come) and goes on a European travelall to check out the other two books in existence.

    Strange things begin to happen, weird people start showing up (including a protective angel) and mayhem begins to break out. Depp's investigation leads to death, fire and some interesting discoveries about the books. Langella shows up for a final scene of devil worship where his overacting takes on a new dimension.

    This is an interesting and fun movie, for the most part. The mystery story is very involving and the European travelogue, through Spain and France, is very interesting. The film has many suspenseful moments and Depp is unusually good in his role.

    This is a poor man's "Rosemary's Baby", however, and it lacks both the fit and finish of Polanski's other venture into devil worship. Still, it is a pretty good late night horror effort, one you can return to a few times to figure out whether that protective angel is actually a member of the devil's brigade or not....more info
  • Loosely based on a great book "The Club Dumas"
    I enjoyed the movie. Depp does a great job in these "normal" man roles and this is no exception. Intriguing look in to the rare book collecting world which made the first part of the movie very enjoyable. The second part of the movie was less enjoyable for me because it was becoming predictable and had nothing to do with reading the book.

    The movie is loosely based on the book "The Club Dumas". If this movie does anything right it is exposing people to what I feel is one of the best books I have ever read. If you decide to read "The Club Dumas" you will know what I mean when I say "loosely based"....more info
  • My Favorite As Demonic Movie Fan
    As a fan of demonic movies, I have to say that this is my favorite. For all you book worms out there, this is probably the only movie that I am aware of where bibliography is at the core of of all the action. Think of this as a demonic mystery. I highly recommend this movie. Very high quality!...more info
  • Only Johnny Gets To Climax
    So the Devil, having eternity to pass the time and no XBOX 360, got bored one night in 1666, thought it was fun to play a game by conjuring up a puzzle. Whoever solves this puzzle is granted the powers of a god. You know, immortality, invincibility, ability to fly, walk on water, all that god stuff. The keys to this puzzle are hidden in 3 books, in the form of 9 illustrated pages signed with Lucifer's initials, that when properly deciphered, unlocks the "ninth gate" to the ultimate "power-up".

    Nobody is able to solve the puzzle until now, when book dealer/detective Johnny Depp is hired by a wealthy collector, who owns 1 of the 3 books, to compare his copy with the other 2 that belong to separate owners, located in Portugal and France.

    Okay, nice concept. I was hooked. I was entertained. I was liking almost everything in this movie; the visuals, the creepy sometimes circusy soundtrack, the mystery woman, the performances by Depp & Langella. Everything except when I got to the ending, which left me going "Huh? What the hell? That's it? That's the end?". It feels incomplete, unsatisfying, anti-climactic.

    And here's why. Here comes the spoiler.
    For the main character he gets his reward -- he gets laid with a hot chick and this she-devil grants him the final key to ultimate power. For the viewer, all the reward you get is to see Johnny Depp's back as he walks to the entrance of an old castle, gets engulfed by light and fades out. Man, that is SO LAME! I expected something more dramatic than that. Remember that scene in the coolest movie of all time, Matrix Reloaded, when Neo finally reaches the doorway to the Source and engulfed by light? Imagine that the movie ended right there, without proceeding to the Architect scene & the saving of Trinity. That's how it feels. Well, okay the Architect scene was pretentious B.S. anyway, but that's another story. The point is, it leaves you feeling hanging, feeling that there's something missing.

    Hell, I'd even settle for a Michael Jackson Thriller type of ending with a shot of Johnny Depp grinning, demonic eyes glowing, with or without the maniacal Vincent Price laughing in the background. Just give me a more tangible, tactile way to express that he acquired some of the Devil's powers and I'm happy. Other than that, I wouldn't mind watching this again.

    ...more info
  • Disappointing
    Beware the reviews that say this is an underrated classic and masterpiece and all that. Was real disappointed by 9th Gate. This film is tepid, there is none of the satanic intensity/ambiance that you find in 'Rosemary's Baby' It's too Hollywood, surprisingly, considering the maverick presence of Depp/Polanski. Film opens well, with a suicide and Depp's opportunistic character who seems to straddle the moral fence, but it never creates the proper mood or atmosphere. Exorcist 3, which I was equally disappointed in, at least was more satanic. I won't spoil anything for those who do want to see it, but the showdown scene between Depp and those he is purusing is awkward and poorly directed. Emmanuelle Seigner comes across more like a hippy chick than a Demona. And the 'showdown with the devil' is a letdown to say the least. This film could have been great but Polanski dropped the ball, considering he was the producer/director/co-screenwriter, and the film fails in all three areas. It's not horrible, so I give it 2 stars. But don't buy this film, rent it only. Buy Angel Heart instead....more info
  • waste of time
    I reeeeaaaally wanted to like this movie. Yes, the opening credits were good. The movie itself, however, was utterly pointless and nonsensical...and yes, boring. Even the actors looked like they weren't taking it seriously. I'm convinced Polanski only made this film as a showcase for his wife ("the girl")...

    Blech. Need some brain soap now....more info
  • Devil in a Red Dress
    [This is the last review in my 31 Days of Halloween 2008 series. It's been fun going down Tombstone Lane & I want to thank you for taking the time to read these humble & horrific offerings. I hope you've had some fun too. I'm already looking forward to next year. More tales of terror & darkness to explore!]

    Jumpin' J Lucifer, it looks like every Magus & Magatrix on the planet have reveiwed THE NINTH GATE--and some of the naughty kids actually gave the whole plot away.

    I'll try to be both brief & discreet.

    The teaming up of Roman Polanski & Johnny Depp was surely a pact made in hell--and I mean that in a GOOD way. Polanski's near obsession with the Diobolical Side often translate into memorable images on film. There are some obvious Satanic images in THE NINTH GATE, and others not so obvious.

    Johnny Depp deftly plays the role of rare book investigator. It's nice to watch him play a more or less normal human being for a change. There's a very short sequence in the film I really enjoyed: Johnny Depp is waiting in a line (for something, I forgot what--short term memory loss, please bear with me.) Anyway, a little girl is standing next to him, giving him the evil eye. Depp looks down at her and does a very funny Johny Depp sort of double take. It was really cute--and I mean that in a nice way too.

    Other cast members were excellent as well.

    On one level the theme of the film is how to conjure up The Living Devil a la ROSEMARY'S BABY. There is another, perhaps more subtle interpretation, i.e. performance of The Great Work. The Great Work is alchemical rather than Satanic. The Great Work is based on positive spiritual concepts like the Gnostic sacrament of The Sacred Marriage; the Hindu Kundalini Yoga, Bhakti Yoga--and, in particular, Tantra Yoga, the Union of Shiva & Shakti.

    And that's all of the plot I'm going to reveal.

    The wonderful woodcut images on the pages of the much coveted book in the film are great. I like the way they look & play into the action.

    [See MERCURIUS The Marriage of Heaven & Earth in the links list below.]

    Another thing I liked about the movie is how Polanski makes fun of the wealthy Satanists' ridiculous pretentions. To miss that point is to miss the whole thing--and yet the viewer is still left (as in Left-Hand Path) with a reaffirmation that the Key to this Theory of Everything is Lucifer. To many people (who aren't necessarily Satanists), Lucifer represents, the Bringer of Light, a Promethian figure who is actually on the side of humanity in the Struggle for Existence. I can rate with the mythology of being kicked on the butt out of Heaven.

    I'll end here with a warning: Watch out for any edited versions of the film. I've seen one on the tube that not only cut out the cute sequence with the little girl, but butchered the sexual images at the conclusion--a desecration that completely demolished the whole point of the movie's theme.

    Well, that's it.

    HAVE A HAPPY & HORROR-FILLED HALLOWEEN!

    Regards,
    JEFarrow

    Mercurius: The Marriage of Heaven and Earth
    Carnival Of Lost Souls
    Rosemary's Baby
    The Fearless Vampire Killers, or Pardon Me but Your Teeth Are in My Neck
    What's Eating Gilbert Grape (Special Collector's Edition)
    Zombies: A Field Guide to the Walking Dead
    Daimonic Reality: A Field Guide to the Otherworld
    Luciferian Witchcraft

    ...more info
  • Great movie!
    Great Movie!
    Everything about this movie is really good!
    Cast, acting, story, locations, filming.....a really goos thriller!...more info
  • Excellent Movie
    This movie plays to Johnny Depp's almost natural underlying sinister quality. He plays a book finder in search of the authentic copy of The Ninth Gate. A book suppossedly written by Lucifer himself. The search started from a man seeking power, and in that search answers to questions that were to disturbing to utter were found.
    I loved this movie, hence i bought it !...more info
  • An Incendiary Thriller
    Controversial director Roman Polanski (Rosemary's Baby and Chinatown) has a talent for creating suspenseful films that utilize character actors in roles, which allow them to be ambiguous and amorphous. In his thriller, The Ninth gate, he returns to the genres he seems to be the most comfortable with: psychological suspense, and horror. Loosely based upon the book El Club Dumas, which was written by acclaimed Spanish author Arturo P¨¦rez-Reverte, The Ninth Gate is a straightforward mystery/conspiracy with supernatural elements. The screenplay written by Enrique Urbizu, Roman Polanski, and John Brownjohn, greatly simplifies the novel, which was deemed too complex and plot heavy to film in its entirety. However, in spite of this harsh adaptive process the film is quite impressive, though it may be a disappointment for fans of the novel.

    Dean Corso is an unscrupulous bibliophile and book appraiser, who specializes in rare and highly valuable books. When he is contacted by billionaire Boris Balkan to verify the authenticity of the satanic volume, The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of Shadows, by seeking out the only other two existing copies. Balkan claims that he purchased his copy from a man named Telfer who committed suicide the day after he sold the book.
    Corso goes on a mercenary quest that takes him through Europe and he crosses paths with some very strange and unsavory characters. He has a shallow sexual encounter with Telfer's wife, Liana, who desperately wants the book back. Corso also has repeat encounters with an enigmatic and beautiful stranger, who seems to show up whenever he needs help of some sort. Corso soon learns that she is not what she seems.
    It becomes apparent that Corso is being closely monitored by Boris Balkan, who calls him repeatedly to demand updates on his success, and it's also apparent that Liana Telfer has sent her lethal bodyguard after Corso and the book.
    While examining and comparing the different copies of the book, Corso stumbles onto a secret. There are subtle differences in the book's illustrations, which serve as symbols or keys to conjuring the Devil, and Corso realizes that all three copies are legitimate but only with all of the illustrations can one understand their true meaning.
    As people around him start dying, Corso finds himself caught in the middle of a deadly diabolical conspiracy. He soon learns that some books are dangerous, that some mysteries should never be solved, and that some doors are better left unopened.

    Stylistically, The Ninth Gate has much in common with 1940s film noir, as well as the more sophisticated horror films of the `60s and `70s. The film is very reminiscent of Roman Polanski's other films and yet it never feels redundant or predictable, which in itself is unusual when you consider the genre that he's working within. The film is boosted by a terrific score by Wojciech Kilar, and the combined efforts of the production designer, the costume designer, and the cinematographer. But the film's greatest asset is Polanski's uncanny ability to tell a sensational story while allowing the audience to suspend disbelief.
    The Ninth Gate features a superb cast, which includes Johnny Depp as Dean Corso, Frank Langella as Boris Balkan, Lena Olin as Liana Telfer, And Emmanuelle Seigner as The Girl.

    The DVD includes an audio commentary by Roman Polanski, an isolated music score, a featurette, a gallery of satanic drawings, storyboard selections, production notes, cast & crew bios, theatrical trailers and TV spots.

    Also recommended:
    The Skull
    The Exorcist - The Complete Anthology
    The Complete Omen Collection
    The Seventh Sign
    The Devil's Advocate
    Stigmata
    From Hell...more info
  • Great story and great acting!
    Ostensibly providing insights (funny and otherwise) into the world of rare books and the lengths some book collectors will go to...it also has "religious" overtones due to a subtheme of devil worship. This may not be a comfortable subject for some. However, being an avid book reader, I found the storyline extremely interesting with some surprising twists and turns. Johnny Depp, as always, turns in a superb performance. The supporting actors and actresses were also excellent. There was some gratuituous (and fleeting) nudity (not Johnny! sad to report!) that didn't add anything to the story snd could/should have been left out, in my opinion. It is a very entertaining film with a satisfying ending....more info
  • Doesn't load right on my player
    I don't know if this is a problem with this title only, buy I have gotten two of these DVDs and both won't load properly on my DVD player. It may be a problem with my model player, but this is the only DVD I've run into that problem with. Region number and all check out, so suggest that if you have a Philips DVD player one might watch out for this....more info
  • THE CHILD DEVIANT!
    This cult classic Johnny Depp Film directed by Roman Polanski (Rosemary's baby, Valley Of The Dolls) is a wonderful occult thriller that is shure to entertain any inteligent viewer. The acting is superb, and the story is verry imaginative. This movie is about a serach for Satan...I will tell you know more as I wouldn't want to spoil a wonderful film for you if you haven't ever seen it....more info
  • Excellent
    I loved this movie. My mom told me about it and i have never heard of it befor so i thought i would check it out. It was great, on all time thiller. ...more info
  • The Ninth Gate-Genuine Roman Polanski+Depp = Great!
    The Ninth Gate was a wonderful four to five star film by Roman Polanski starring Johnny Depp and Frank Langella. It was a well paced film which metered out horror at a deliberately measured pace. Direction and casting were all superb. Johnny Depp's performance was outstanding as a totally amoral book dealer on a mission to find none other than Lucifer himself.

    Many scenes contained fantastic imagry and appear to have been filmed on location. The final scenes were surprising and left me feeling a bit unfinished. Then again, this ending (as in Rosemarie's Baby) left the viewer very interested in what happens next and several directors believe that a good way to go. In any case, I really enjoyed this film and recommend it to all fans of Roman Polanski and Johnny Depp.


    ...more info
  • 9th Gate DVD
    Have no personal knowledge, gave it as a gift to daughter, she was extremely happy and loves the movie....more info
  • The Ninth Gate
    It has been on of the most clear and interesting movies I have seen in a long time, finally one that has a bit of substance to it.

    Best movie Ive seen this year, I would recomend this movie to those who have an interest in the "different" side of things....more info
  • The only point of this movie is the nudity...
    Because I've become somewhat of a Depp fan in recent years, I picked up The Ninth Gate from a $5 bargain bin at walmart.I had never heard of the movie and the premise was wonderfully intriguing and full of potential. Unfortunately the movie did not fully take advantage of this potential. I actually enjoyed the first 70% of the movie. The mystery alone had me glued me to the screen. In the last half our or so, however, all of the movie's worth was nullified. I enjoy a movie that leaves questions unanswered, but this movie left the WRONG questions. Because of this blunder, the story didn't matter to me and, in the end, it seemed that the entire point of the movie was to facilitate two nude scenes.

    If you're into movies that are just for nudity, I'm sure there are better ones out there. If you're looking for a wonderfully compelling and thought provoking story, I suggest you look elsewhere. I, for one, want my $5 back...

    ~Ben H...more info
  • Some books are dangerous...
    "Some books are dangerous, Mr. Corso..."

    Meet Dean Corso, a short and thin type with greasy hair, goatee, trenchcoat, and a Lucky Strike dangling from his lips. His business is books, antique books, and visits estates to appraise rare volumes... Seems simple enough, his knowledge on the subject is encyclopedic, but in a way that seems to be the extent of it. He comes off as a man who can rattle off the catalogue number, how many copies exist, and of course, their value. But he comes off as the kind of man who probably hasn't actually read anything for quite some time. It's a business, and Corso is a scoundrel, eagerly waiting to rip off anyone who employs him...

    Enter Boris Balkan, an aging scholar who has dedicated his life's work to the Devil. Well, Balkan was lucky enough to acquire a very valuable volume just before the previous owner hangs himself. That is the way of things, Balkan has just completed his vast demonic library with the forbidden volume The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of Shadows, a book whose author was burned alive for protecting this ancient grimoire. An author who was rumored to collaborate with Lucifer himself, so you can imagine that Balkan is giddy to have such a treasure. But he enlists the aid of Corso to authenticate the book, trsuting a man who can be bought by cold hard cash. Corso is sent to Europe to compare The Nine Gates with the two remaining copies... But not without the previous owner's wife trying to snag the book for herself, and Corso's best friend ends up dead...

    Sex and Sects and Satan!

    What a wonderful thing, to watch something that combines two of my favorite passions: old books and the cinema. Based on the novel The Club Dumas by Arturo Perez-Reverte, this film weaves a fantastic mystery. The first-person style of the film allows the viewer to only discovers the clues when Corso does, which means we are in the dark as much as he is. The film does not give anything away and remains ambiguous throughout, which is a rare treat because mysteries these days tend to reveal who the killer is in advance, instead this plays like an old nickel and dime trash detective novel or classic noir. In fact, this is the kind of story I could see being told with fedoras and five o' clock shadow, luscious women on the knee while pounding a glass of scotch. Well, scratch the fedoras, everything else is here. This truly is a modern-day film noir, our protagonist is sleazy, he likes money and femme fatales. The entire story revolves around him, there is not a scene he is not involved in. Johnny Depp does a great job in portraying this half-wit bibliophile. Other treats include dark brunettes, mysterious blondes, tales of orgy cults, and the devil!

    I've never listened to it, but I don't need an audio commentary to tell you that the color scheme is brilliant. If this movie were filmed in Smell-O-Vision, it would constantly reek of wormy parchment and decaying and musty leather and wood. Everything has an earthy and organic glow to it, lots of burgandy and browns, the atmosphere it creates is almost physically palpable. The music varies from quirky to sinister, playing both with and against the atmosphere. The idea of sinister books played out in a rich milieau of money, women, and murder. This is perhaps one of the most underrated films, especially in Polanski's catalogue.

    - M. ...more info
  • Gaining the Angel of Light's Favor
    Johnny Depp once again gives an excellent performance as a book appraiser who is hired by a very rich and powerful man to authenticate his copy of a book supposedly written by Lucifer itself.

    The element about this story that is classic and thought provoking is that in the end, the Angel of Light Lucifer shows its favor towards Depp's character for his willingness to do whatever it takes to survive in this world of false morals that are only followed by the mentally and spiritually weak.

    A very good expose in true Satanic thought versus Hollywood Satanists.
    ...more info
  • Fun Gothic Noir
    It's a shame that Roman Polanski's "Ninth Gate" never found its audience when it was initially released. Misleadingly hyped as the type of action/horror hybrid we are all too familiar with, "Ninth Gate" actually revisits the Noir trappings Polanski played with in "Chinatown," and combines it with the tongue-in-cheek Gothic overtones of "Rosemary's Baby."

    Johnny Depp plays Dean Corso, a used book dealer who is pressed into service as an amateur P.I. by multimillionare Balkan (Frank Langella), who hires him to track down and examine alternate versions of a rare Satanic text. What appears to be simple turns out to be a convoluted web of intrigue and dark secrets in best noir fashion. Depp's Corso encounters femme fatales, eccentric cloistered old money and - most charmingly - a series of rather bookish Old World types. While never devolving into slapstick, Depp keeps tongue planted firmly in cheek, adding a much-needed light touch to the proceedings.

    In sum, I enjoyed this film a lot, and believe it holds up to multiple viewings.

    The Artisan single disc version of the film contains very few extras. There's a very brief featurette, as well as the ridiculous trailers which explain why "Ninth Gate" failed at the box office. More thoughtfully, Artisan included two bonus audio tracks. The first is a director's commentary, the second is a music-only version. There's also a nice gallery containing the Tarot card-like illustrations that figure so heavily in the film. Unfortunately, there are no subtitles nor are there any foreign language subtitles or language tracks.

    I have no idea how closely "The Ninth Gate" resembles the book it is based on. But if you are primarily a noir fan who also enjoys nongory horror films, you may just find this movie to your tastes. It's a lot of fun....more info
  • Not what I was expecting, but still good (in a different way)
    Opinions when it comes to movies tend to convey a bit more stridency than those involving music or even television, as if a level of aesthete is involved that is so profound that it evokes a part of one's being... of course, that may just apply to the more catty drama dorks out there.

    Anyhow, there are many examples too numerous for practical purposes of documenting. To focus on just one good example would be THE NINTH GATE. Many people disliked this film, and some did so with a hint of indignation. It might have been because of raised expectations, either for their adulations of Roman Polanski as a director, or because it was a film featuring the "divinely magnificent" Johnny Depp (who actually is an exceptionally good actor with a decent knack for picking projects; comments in quotations were not meant as an affront to Mr. Depp, but to those who overly idolize him), or because this film deals with elements of the supernatural including the Devil. If in fact you are expecting a terrifying episode of demonic encounters replete with gore and sensationalism, then you might not like this film, which has a more stately pacing and emphasizes ambiance and atmosphere over glitzy special effects. Others were disappointed because the film only partially reflects the book it was based on ("Club Dumas", which I actually also read - pretty impressive, huh?), although to be fair, the book's structure would not have really been ideal for close adaptation.

    I admit that I was really intrigued by the premise, especially when the element of interaction by Lucifer was suggested, because done well it can be fascinating, although it is also runs the big risk of embarrassing failure, given the heightened expectations. The trailers were effective enough, and Johnny Depp picks good movies more often than not, so I thought it was worth a look. The movie was not quite what I expected, but still kept my interest, in spite of the aforementioned moderate pacing and a subject matter (rare book appraisals) which I would not have ordinarily found especially fascinating. It was an intellectual rather than visceral effort, and the acting was actually somewhat effective as it turns out. Though some have incorrectly characterized the acting as being lackadaisical and/or stilted or uninspiring (among the many adjectives used), the director and actors wisely chose a more understated approach, which is more realistic and less (melo)dramatic. As a result, Depp was convincing in his role as a mercenary book appraiser not always above unscrupulous methods, and Frank Langella was quite effective in his role as an accomplished but ruthless publisher and collector, whose sophistication almost masks his sinister agenda. Their nuanced performances were far more appropriate and believable, rather than over-the-top affectations which would have just come off as campy and out of place (Sean Penn and Al Pacino and Tom Cruise need not have auditioned).

    The story centers on a book titled "The Ninth Gate of the Kingdom of Shadows", an obscure but legendary tome rumored to have Lucifer as a contributor. Depp's character is Dean Corso, a highly sought though morally relaxed appraiser. He is hired by Boris Balkan (Langella) to find other remaining copies - if they still exist - to determine the book's authenticity. What seemed initially like a thorough and arduous investigation came to include hazardous intrigue, the interventions of mysterious strangers, untimely deaths, and more danger than Corso was prepared for. Along the way, the financial appeal of the lucrative assignment gives way to the need for answers to the danger and intrigue, which in turn gives way to a pursuit of something possibly unworldly and beyond belief. Though some will stubbornly disagree, I think what helps make this film work is the element of ambiguity regarding the book's authenticity and nature, as well as those of at least one other character in the film, and the film's ending itself.

    As I am not an easy laugh, I tend to be a challenging audience for comedies. Similarly, I am not an easy scare and do not impress easily when it comes to horror films. Though I am not sure that this would be accurately categorized as a horror film (it could be more accurately described as a supernatural thriller), I will risk the razzing and aspersions and insults to say that one of the more scary/frightening/evocative (as measured by the goosebump meter) sequences I have ever come across in movies is in this film. Polanski is regarded by some as a genius, though not all his films are well received. If you can dispense with any preconceived expectations and approach this with an open mind, there is a decent chance you might find this film's merits as both a creative project and a skillfully crafted effort.
    ...more info
  • Good
    If you like a mystery with supernatural overtones then you will like this.I liked the sound track too,in helping with the overall feel of intrigue.The ending could have been a little more in depth.I felt I wanted more information.Acting good....more info
  • Problematic, uneven, yet intriguing and suspenseful movie
    - CAUTION: SPOILERS BELOW -

    I first saw Ninth Gate at the theater in 1999 or 2000 and I'm convinced that that is the best way to see this movie. Lights low, huge picture in front of you, rich, booming sound. The opening credits are great; Polish musician Wojciech Kilar's opening theme is excellent and sets an appropriate tone of weariness and dread. Some of the pluckier parts of the soundtrack don't seem to mesh too well, or seem dated -- but the opening theme is masterfully done.

    The movie concerns a book dealer's attempts to piece together the three known copies of a medieval tome that was supposedly co-written by Lucifer in 1666. Yes, co-authored by Lucifer himself. Apparently Lucifer likes to sign his name "LCF," the movie shows, and he does engravings, too. Piecing together all Lucifer's drawings in the 3 extant copies of the 'The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of Shadows,' a book that reminds of the Necronomicon, enables one to summon the dark lord. Or so the theory goes.

    Depp does an adequate, low-key job as the unscrupulous book collector in search of the volumes on behalf of a wealthy New York client (Frank Langella). As others have mentioned, you do get the feeling that some sort of unspeakable evil is always JUST around the corner. But after awhile it begins to feel like a big put-on. Is anything going to ever happen or not? The pacing of the plot is deliberate, even langorous, and there is a good amount of suspense and unease, ladled on thick and grey in various European settings. The characters are interesting and even eerie (the two book makers in Portugal, for example).

    There are some moments, however, where the film seems to devolve into self-parody. For example, when you think of it, Satan himself, sitting around, doing drawings, and planting them in 3 different books -- well, that's kind of absurd, no? Nonetheless, if you don't think about such minutaie too much, you can enjoy the atmosphere and moodiness the movie conjures. One failing of the movie was when Depp's character, Corso, encounters the pack of Satanists at a secluded European mansion. This scene, which should have been climactic, seems to want to play like EYES WIDE SHUT, and it does sort of play that way -- but it's EYES WIDE SHUT as directed for the old 80s TV show Amazing Stories. Kind of hokey. In fact, some moments of this scene are laughably bad: One of the female Satanists, for some reason, hastily strips off her black silk robe and scuttles away naked, as if she'd just seen Godzilla approaching Mt. Fuji. Granted, fleeing is one thing -- but stripping off your clothes as you do so? Why was this put here? What the heck, Roman Polanski? Another Satanist looks like a Renassance Fair enthusiast, in long hair and a pony tail. And when Frank Langella strides into the scene, dressed like lawyer Melvin Belli in the Rolling Stones' GIMME SHELTER, proclaiming, "Mumbo jumbo! Mumbo jumbo! Mumbo jumbo!" it's hard not to laugh.

    The ending also felt antclimactic. I remember in the theater that folks sat in hushed silence as the credits came up, and there was a feeling of disbelief that that confused, ambiguous little bit at the end really was the ending. (You'll know what I mean when you see it.)

    If someone else other than Roman Polanski had made this movie -- a new director, perhaps -- you'd think, "Hmm, this was uneven but it had its moments. I can't wait to see what this director does in the next few years." But since it *is* Polanski and you expect a degree of excellence from him, it's a let down -- of sorts. ROSEMARY'S BABY and REPULSION are far superior to this. But if you have seen THE TENANT, Polanski's last of his unofficial trilogy of which REPULSION & ROSEMARY'S were the first two parts, well, it's about on level with that. THE TENANT was also a good, suspenseful, disturbing movie that nonetheless delivered a confusing, unsatisfying ending and had uneven, silly moments.

    I'm torn between recommending this or not. I give it 3 stars. I wish I could say 3 and a half. It's not bad. But it just isn't as great as we know Polanski is capable of. Go into it with low expectations and you may be surprised....more info