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Sophisticated Movies: The Ninth Gate with Johnny Depp

Updated on January 14, 2013
Sophisticated Movies: The 9th Gate with Johnny Depp
Sophisticated Movies: The 9th Gate with Johnny Depp | Source

If you appreciate finding a centuries-old leather bound book in your attic, love bookstores hidden in nooks of the city, agree that if you aren't in Manhattan you would rather be in Europe, and love midnight train rides simply for their charm and mystery, then you are most likely a lover of sophisticated movies and actively seek them out.

A sophisticated movie I obsessively watch is The Ninth Gate with Johnny Depp -- a Roman Polanski gem from 1999. Here are a few reasons why you will like it.

Books, Books, and More Books (below)

While many folks would rather read their novels on a Kindle, you enjoy the touch, feel, and scent of old-fashioned books -- especially if they are leather bound and antiquated. In the Ninth Gate, the entire story revolves around books -- chasing down books, in fact.

In addition, the camera tends to long gazes at rows of antiquated books on wooden bookshelves. It almost feels like longing -- you want to reach out and take all its beauty to prize in your own home, but alas you cannot.

Rows of old books in wooden bookshelves
Rows of old books in wooden bookshelves | Source
Don't we all love to find a bookstore hidden in a nook of the city?
Don't we all love to find a bookstore hidden in a nook of the city? | Source

A Smoking Movie (below)

The 9th Gate is well-suited to film noir buffs who enjoy watching women and men take genteel puffs between saying important things. Johnny Depp's character, Dean Corso, loves his cigarettes, and so does Lena Olin, who plays Mrs. Telfer. Mrs. Telfer even uses a classic cigarette case. A woman of taste, no doubt. And brandy and other liquor are equally featured as Dean Corso imbibes while chasing down The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of Shadows.

A Smoking Movie: Mrs. Telfer puffs and uses a cigarette case
A Smoking Movie: Mrs. Telfer puffs and uses a cigarette case | Source

Historic Architecture Abounds (below)

There is nothing a cultured person enjoys more than being in an old edifice built by stonemasons. We ooh and ahh at the moulding, curves, and vaulted ceilings. The beauty of it is enough to make us faint. We almost believe anyone that lives in a structure less than 100 years old is on the verge of being a barbarian.

In The Ninth Gate we see lovely brick and stone structures everywhere: Corso's apartment building and Bernie's Rare Books in Manhattan, the Ceniza Bros. bookbinding store in Spain, Baroness Kessler's building in Paris, and most of all, the mansions and chateaus of Victor Fargas and Mrs. Telfer in Portugal and France.

Historic French architecture: Château Ferrière  in Margaux, France. Filmed as Château De Saint Martin, Mrs. Telfer's ancestral home.
Historic French architecture: Château Ferrière in Margaux, France. Filmed as Château De Saint Martin, Mrs. Telfer's ancestral home. | Source

Lack of Mass Market Appeal

There are countless reasons while you will love The Ninth Gate. Some of the nicest things about the film are that there are no overwhelming special effects and almost zero profanity. It doesn't insult your intelligence. The movie almost assumes you are an educated individual -- even if you are self-educated through reading books on your own your entire life.

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