The Ninth Gate
directed by Roman Polanski
(Artisan Entertainment, 2000)

I went into this movie, thinking, "OK, let's see what this is about." After about two hours, I sat at the credits staring at the screen, thinking "This is a great movie. I have to see it again." Mind you, I'm not the type to want to see movies twice in the movie theater. Something has really got to catch my attention in order for me to see it again.

The Ninth Gate got my attention. It's an intense, quiet thriller filled with glorious plot, great acting and a very interesting twist to old archetypes. It starts Johnny Depp as Dean Corso, an unscrupulous rare book finder, who is hired by the owner (Frank Langella) of the largest collection of texts dedicated to the devil. Langella's character had recently acquire the prize gem of his collection, a book titled The Ninth Gate, which is reportedly co-written by Lucifer himself. There are rumors that only one of the three books known to exist is the genuine article, and he sends Corso to compare his copy to the other two in existence.

What starts off as a seemingly simple quest becomes a game filled with plots and twists that draws Corso in deeper and deeper. In the end, everything becomes almost obvious, but then the story takes an interesting twist that'll leave you staring at the credits and thinking "Oh, I've got to see this again."

At the end, I heard many many people in the theater moaning that they didn't "get" it ... of course, these were the same people who were loud and pointing out the obvious to their partners (and everyone else in the theater). However, if you like the typical story archetypes, know your symbology, and have a decent intelligence level, you'll enjoy this movie and have your mind wander a bit down all archetypes you've ever heard, or read, Joseph Campbell write/speak about and do a comparison against this movie.

Thank goodness Johnny Depp has gotten away from all the wrong acting roles. His appearance in this movie shows what he can do best, quirky, dark, and twisted story plots. Roman Polanski proves that he can still do thrillers well ... Polanski takes this plot and makes it into a subtle but intense film.

My recommendation? See this movie. And pay attention. Otherwise, you'll need to go see it again. Or, if you're like me, you just might choose to see it again anyway.

[ by Jade Falcon ]

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