The Ninth Gate, FTW!
When is the last time you’ve enjoyed an actual Mystery / Thriller film? I love this genre, and even though this film couldn’t quite escape the shadow of Polanski’s earlier film, Rosemary’s Baby, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Yes, The Ninth Gate (1999) can get a little cheesy, but we're dealing with the supernatural and the Devil here. Also, cheesiness... has its own charm and it is the cheesy things that kind of make this a fun joyride.
1. The Nerdy Scoundrel. Johnny Depp’s hilarious as our bumbling hero, Dean Corso, a rare-book dealer that doesn’t have too many redeeming qualities. He’s not particularly strong, more a lover than a fighter. He takes what he can get and really just looks out for himself. His character makes so much sense for the overall story, and it is entertaining to see him kinda squirm out of situations in a way that most people would – saving their own skin.
2. Dangerous Women. Watch out for women in this film, because they are a threatening force in this film. While appealing and attractive, women in here threatening and even scary at times. All the action go to the women!
3. Roman Polanski… has style. He loves his visual and musical cues. Whenever something is going down a familiar quirky tone chimes in to signal that Corso is doing his famous detective work, or is about to face off against a foe. There are also some visual cues to say, something spooky is about to go down or this is DRAMATIC. He also loves playing with the 1st person perspective, as a lot of times it really feels like we’re looking through Corso’s eyes. It’s a really great way to submerse the audience in the story.
I’m glad to have revisited this old gem, and even though it didn’t do so well with the critics it’s still something to enjoy for those who enjoy mystery. Because honestly, there aren’t enough movies that make me really wonder what’s going to happen. The mystery of the Book of the Nine Gates is something that not only does Corso become obsessed with, but also the audience. I’m curious what the “power” of the book really is, because we don’t really ever get to see it only hear about it and know that it’s worth a lot to some people who are willing to kill for it.