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Overall Rating

Awesome: 15.04%
Worth A Look: 22.56%
Pretty Bad: 15.79%
Total Crap: 15.04%

10 reviews, 73 user ratings

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Ninth Gate, The
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by Erik Childress

"Trailers Shortchange Polanski's Latest"
4 stars

The Ninth Gate (***) (Out of 4) For months, The Ninth Gate was a mystery to film audiences. Trailers were no longer than a thirty-second teaser and in that time hinted that Roman Polanski’s latest film was a Stigmata/End of Days-like satanic thriller and nothing more. Unfortunately, the trailers have done harm on so many levels that its unlikely to ever find an audience that will appreciate what is easily the best of all the recent journeys into the supernatural.

What the previews only hint at is that Johnny Depp plays a morally-questioned rare book dealer who is hired to seek out and authenticate two remaining copies of a book supposedly adapted from the words of Satan himself. This takes him from New York to exotic locations in Europe meeting one colorful book collector after another. With this setup and the slam-bang nature of the film’s ads, you get the feeling you know exactly where this is all headed, but not quite as you might expect. There are the requisite obstacles trying to prevent his task as well as a mysterious protector in the form of Polanski’s wife, Emmanuelle Seigner. But is she a guardian angel or just a employee of his employer, whom Depp, amusingly, can never discover his whereabouts. Johnny Depp’s performance once again distinguishes him among the rare few that can lose himself in a character chameleon-style putting him along the lines of Robert DeNiro and Gene Hackman as one of our greatest actors. Polanski creates a kind of crossbreed between Rosemary’s Baby and Chinatown, not using many bells and whistles to keep the storytelling simple and old-fashioned noir-ish. A suitable counterpart would be Alan Parker’s disturbing Angel Heart (1986) where a private eye went deep into voodoo culture to discover shocking secrets.

Thrill seekers going in here expecting a plethora of special effects and music-induced “BOO” moments are going to be bored and get antsy. And those turned off by the trailers promising exactly that, are going to miss an interesting detective story that only dabbles in the supernatural elements right up to the multiple endings that are either going to cause groaning or discussion.

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originally posted: 03/22/00 09:40:29
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User Comments

4/11/18 The Big D Boris Balkn proves that guys with glasses can be super cool! 5 stars
10/12/10 J.P. Ward Underappreciated atmospheric mood piece with sinister undercurrents. 4 stars
7/31/09 the dork knight Extraordinarily dull for the most, but that was the point? Langella is a scary bastard. 3 stars
5/11/09 matt absolutely genius... a movie of symbols, clues and subtlety 5 stars
1/11/09 Anonymous. very freaky and mysterious, but not one of depp's best... 3 stars
8/17/08 Samantha Pruitt interesting concept, wasn't very well done and slow, at least Johnny was hot! 3 stars
8/05/07 ravenmad interesting concept, but the story was a little weak and the ending too abrupt. 3 stars
6/10/07 fools♫gold Strangely entertaining underrated great originally filmed stuff. 90%, at least. 4 stars
1/21/07 David A. A fascinating supernatural detective story--it rocks! 5 stars
1/04/07 Wildpen film shots were decent, but I woudl have liked to been spoonfed the ending, 3 stars
9/09/06 Michele interesting, mysterious 5 stars
4/04/05 indrid cold Pedophile and rapist Polanski is still given millions of $ to make movies for some reason. 2 stars
3/16/05 Ronin It's not scary. It's creepy and mysterious. People with imagination should like it. 4 stars
10/23/04 andy clark genuinely unsettling moments 4 stars
8/11/04 Umberto Bulgartio I am a rare book dealer and like Corso,I always chain smoke right over priceless books. 4 stars
5/18/04 Anne I will never get my wasted time back. The WORST movie ever made! 1 stars
3/17/04 Brando ....POLANSKI???????!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
1/22/04 American Slasher Goddess Very dull and disappointing. 1 stars
12/14/03 Agent Sands (previously Mr. Hat) Cool ending, but once again, Polanski takes his own sweet time. Film's middle hour=yawn. 3 stars
11/28/03 john creepy, brilliantly shot and ultimatetly shocking (once you get it)) 5 stars
10/27/03 Two-G - horror_blood2 (aka Double G) good movie, a chick satan, hah 5 stars
7/09/03 Stefan Halka Polanski proves once again that he isn't much of a director without a good script. 3 stars
6/19/03 George Jung Sommersby sucks nuts. Big nuts. 5 stars
6/18/03 Jack Bourbon There's some good over here, and there's some bad over here. 3 stars
5/04/03 sleepy I totally got this film. Great fun. 5 stars
4/19/03 Jack Sommersby Dull, lifeless, disjointed and predictable. A real disappointment. 1 stars
2/18/03 Charles Tatum Nice visuals help a script that eventually just repeats itself 4 stars
10/30/02 spacecowboy you keep watching it over and over just so you can figure it out....excellent. 5 stars
9/11/02 R.W. Welch Intriguing much of the way but leaves a lot of loose ends lying around. 3 stars
2/08/02 Aristide Torchia sexy and stylish thiriller 5 stars
2/07/02 Terrie Smith A few good moments but Polanski lets the film run way too long. Slow moving. 3 stars
1/17/02 David A. Outstanding supernatural detective movie. Intelligently done and very exciting 5 stars
1/06/02 Monday Morning Depp must have lost a bet to be in this piece of mierda. 2 stars
11/20/01 Milos Dj. really boring and silly movie 1 stars
8/01/01 Vixor he always pisses me off at the end of his movies- bad movie 2 stars
7/22/01 othree Mystery of the Occult that ends on a mystery, no payoff! Depp was a believable character. 3 stars
6/03/01 Rimshot Doesn't end...just dies. I think Polanski ran out of film. 2 stars
5/10/01 *~Danielle*Ophelia~* (formerly KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi) Acme goes to the cinema, take 5... 2 stars
5/08/01 Vítor Ribeiro An interesting movie! 4 stars
4/15/01 GeorgE McCaul While it is not Polanski's best film it is not his worst, and I really enjoyed it. 4 stars
3/28/01 Jesse L Depp makes it worthwhile 4 stars
2/12/01 4 play There isn't any more to it? 1 stars
12/23/00 Bev Clark Surreal, suspenseful, stylish and unashamedly tongue in cheek. 4 stars
11/26/00 FrayLo The only redeeming quality of this movie was the sex scene at the end. 1 stars
10/29/00 Holger Lagerfeldt Superb, completely engrossing film experience! 5 stars
10/21/00 Pandora Boring, disconnected, and well, it just plain sucked. 1 stars
10/04/00 sweet-xtacy i thought that the movie was really good, one of the best one's i have ever seen 5 stars
8/28/00 cliff eliason load of hogwash-should be called "tintin and the devil's books" 1 stars
8/24/00 mahone All satanic movies are now in the realm of "The Big Bad Wolf" 1 stars
8/16/00 Drew Vogel Terrific acting, great script, great direction, just wonderful 5 stars
5/13/00 Mark The ending sucked even worse than the film as a whole. 1 stars
5/05/00 KC This is the most boring film ever made! I would have left but I had to drive my friend home 1 stars
5/03/00 cort major Well directed-well acted,very enjoyable. 4 stars
4/15/00 PJ Greatly underrated, Polanski is a master Auteur, the cinematography breathless!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
4/07/00 Leon Trotsky Fuck, was that awful! 1 stars
4/05/00 ChuckEye Strong on visuals, weak on sense. 4 stars
4/01/00 entropy Disappointing - Jonny Dep made it tollerable 2 stars
3/24/00 malcolm thoroughly disappointing! 2 stars
3/15/00 PhilmPhreak Boy, did that suck or what! 1 stars
3/15/00 Lame-Oh much better than the pathetic End of Days and Devil's Advocate flicks 4 stars
3/14/00 Charles Once again, Depp rises above his material. 4 stars
3/14/00 majawat Predictable, slow, but mildly entertaining 3 stars
3/14/00 SomeGuy Pretty good, but barely 1/2 of the book. 4 stars
3/13/00 Captain Highcrime Wait a can get a Dodge in Europe? 4 stars
3/13/00 pete cummings derek parker is a filthy homosexual 5 stars
3/13/00 rev. eric maultsby very good. i highly recommend this movie. 5 stars
3/13/00 Ben Ryan What happened? I was promised a great movie, but promises are made to be broken. average! 2 stars
3/13/00 Pope Gonzo XIII Extremely well-crafted and mysterious, with engrossing symbolism. 5 stars
3/13/00 Matt A but slow, but it kept me interested. Worth Seeing 4 stars
3/12/00 LCF Richly engrossing old style filmmaking w/a marvelous score, great acting, & a neat mystery 5 stars
3/12/00 Jeremy Boring, had the movie figured out in the first 20 minutes.. 2 stars
2/15/00 k.tomkowski Solid, original, intelligent. Devil as a former angel, mockingly observing human vanities. 4 stars
12/17/99 Derek Parker I love gay guys 5 stars
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  10-Mar-2000 (R)


  28-Sep-2000 (M)

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