Film: The Ninth Gate
A French/Spanish Roman Polanksi vehicle (director & producer), he co-wrote the screenplay with John Brownjohn and Enrique Urbizu. Loosely based on the 1993 book El Club Dumas, a Spanish language novel by Arturo Pérez-Reverte Gutiérrez, the Polanski/Brownjohn script removed a sub-plot, changed the two main characters’ names and altered the finale. Filmed in France, Portugal and Spain, it stars Johnny Depp (Corso), Frank Langella (Balkan), Lena Olin, Barbara Jefford and, Emmanuelle Seigner (mysterious woman & Polanski’s wife). Actor Allen Garfield suffered a stroke prior to filming and Polanski incorporated Garfield’s paralysis as part of the character. Released August 25, 1999, in Belgium, France and Spain (premiere), and November 1999 at the Stockholm International Film Festival, it wasn’t released, widely, in the US until March 10, 2000.
I would have to describe the movie like this…:
“[It] is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma…”
October 1, 1939
Dean Corso is a bit of a sleazy rare book dealer from New York with questionable ethics. Boris Balkan, a wealthy collector, hires Corso to determine if a book he owns (the book to the left/above) is authentic. The author, supposedly, wrote the book with help from the Devil and only three copies of the book are known to exist after the author was burned at the stake during the Inquisition, along with his works. Corso must find the other two to complete his investigation. Balkan believes that the owner of the book would have the power to summon said Devil. As the skeptical Corso travels and searches, he is followed by a mysterious woman. He eventually becomes obsessed with his task and desires the complete truth. The movie twists and turns to it’s bizarre ending. Depp is a strange cat but, he makes really interesting movies. Visually, Polanski intended for Corso to resemble Philip Marlowe. ~Vic
The Ninth Gate (Roger Ebert)
The Ninth Gate Opens (Philip Coppens Web Archive)
I watched it when it was available at the video store back then. Really good movie and Depp does a good job…for him, this is more of a normal role. I just watched it again a few months ago…it stands up well.
Heh. Normal role. Depp is an odd bird but, he is entertaining.
I liked him in all of his earlier movies like Whats Eating Gilbert Grape and others.
I’ve never seen Gilbert Grape.
It’s a good one
I saw it when it first came out at the theater but not since. I remember it being a good mystery with some scary parts. Depp was in his prime. Langella is always great. Compelling tale for bibliophiles also.
I agree. Depp was in his prime and it was great to see Langella. Both are versatile actors.
I found it amusing that, the movie is based on an actual book but, the book in the story (novel & movie) doesn’t actually exist.
I bet that book would be quite terrifying. And yes, it is ironic isn’t it.
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I remember watching this a few months back…. Depp always stands out really eerie knowing there is a book that Satan himself wrote… great pick!
*That Satan help write
Thanks. It is an interesting movie.