In New York, the money-driven dealer Dean Corso is a rare-books expert and partner of Bernie, who owns a bookstore. He is contacted by the renowned collector of books about the devil Boris Balkan, who has just acquired the rare The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of Shadows from the collector Andrew Telfer, to verify whether his book is authentic or a forgery. Balkan explains that the book was written by the writer Aristide Torchia, in 1666, with Lucifer and he was burned at the stake with his entire work. There are only three exemplars of The Nine Gates and in accordance with the legend, its nine engravings form a riddle to conjure the devil. The skeptical Corso accepts the assignment and has to flight to Sintra, Portugal, and Paris, France, to contact the owners Victor Fargas and Baroness Kessler and find the genuine exemplar for Balkan. Meanwhile, he asks Bernie to hide the rare book. Before traveling to Europe, the widow Liana Telfer wants to retrieve the book and has sex with Corso, ... Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The two booksellers Corso encounters in Toledo are actually the same actor, José López Rodero. Writer/director/producer Roman Polanski used a motion capture rig to use the same actor twice. The same man appears again later, playing two workmen cleaning out the bookstore. Rodero was an assistant director and production manager, not a professional actor. He was hesitant to accept these multiple parts. See more »
When Balkin and Corso enter the collection area early on in the film we see a building outside the many windows in the collection room. In the building outside the lights start going out one-by-one on one of the floors. But a moment later in the next shot, we see the lights back on. See more »
It's an impressive collection. You have some very rare editions here. Are you sure you want to sell them all?
Old Man's Son:
They're of no use to father. Not anymore. Not since he's been this way. His library was his whole world. Now it's just a painful memory.
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As with many of Polanski's films, "The Ninth Gate" includes beautiful settings, great orchestration, and intriguing characters. He was able to put together a talented cast, including several from the largely untapped European community. These include Jose Lopez Rodero, giving a short but humorous and witty performance, and the striking Emmanuelle Seigner, who plays her part with the perfect subtlety (no doubt due in part to Polanski's influence). Johnny Depp (playing the bibliophile anti-hero) gives another adept performance and the musical score is expertly composed. The only negatives I noticed were that the movie was at times too slow paced and that the ending left something to the imagination. But all-in-all Polanski has left us with an enduring thriller propelled by a (refreshingly) character-driven tale.
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