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The Ninth Gate (1999)

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A rare book dealer, while seeking out the last two copies of a demon text, gets drawn into a conspiracy with supernatural overtones.

Director:

Roman Polanski

Writers:

Arturo Pérez-Reverte (novel) (as Arturo Perez-Reverte), John Brownjohn (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Popularity
4,484 ( 521)
1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Johnny Depp ... Dean Corso
Frank Langella ... Boris Balkan
Lena Olin ... Liana Telfer
Emmanuelle Seigner ... The Girl
Barbara Jefford ... Baroness Kessler
Jack Taylor ... Victor Fargas
José López Rodero José López Rodero ... Pablo & Pedro Ceniza / 1st & 2nd Workmen (as Jose Lopez Rodero)
Tony Amoni Tony Amoni ... Liana's Bodyguard
James Russo ... Bernie
Willy Holt Willy Holt ... Andrew Telfer
Allen Garfield ... Witkin
Jacques Dacqmine ... Old Man
Joe Sheridan ... Old Man's Son
Rebecca Pauly Rebecca Pauly ... Daughter-In-Law
Catherine Benguigui Catherine Benguigui ... Concierge
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Storyline

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 fly 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, but ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Basada en la novela de Arturo Pérez Reverte: El Club Dumas. See more »

Genres:

Mystery | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some violence and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France | Spain | USA

Language:

English | French | Latin | Portuguese | Spanish

Release Date:

10 March 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Ninth Gate See more »

Filming Locations:

Portugal See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$38,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,622,518, 12 March 2000, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$18,661,336

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$58,401,898
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The little girl that stares at Corso, at the Paris Airport, is played by Roman Polanski's daughter Morgan. See more »

Goofs

When Corso and The Girl drive off in their "borrowed" red sports car, they are stuck behind a truck for a moment, and the car's brake lights are lit; however, the sound of the car accelerating and upshifting can be heard throughout the shot. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Dean Corso: 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.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Masters of Horror: John Carpenter's Cigarette Burns (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Sete saias
Performed by Santinho
Arranged by Wolfgang Gerhard
Courtesy of LaserLight Digital by Arrangement with Source/Q
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Excellent film...Grossly misunderstood! Easily one of Polanski's finest!
27 November 2008 | by Aditya_GokhaleSee all my reviews

Some of the critics ratings and user ratings really surprise and shock me at times. "The Ninth Gate" is rated so low, even by the critics (and several movie buffs), I really did not have much expectations from this movie. However, it was after all, a supernatural thriller by Roman Polanski and that was reason enough for me to see it. This, along with some comment I read somewhere that it is similar to Angel Heart, heightened my curiosity and finally saw it! And boy.. am I glad I did!

This is one of Polanski's finest films. There is no sense comparing it to Polanski's earlier classic based on the supernatural, Rosemary's Baby. That is, of course, a classic, but that does not render The Ninth Gate any lesser in terms of quality. The story revolves around a man called Dean Corso (Johnny Depp), who happens to be a dealer in rare books. He is hired by a wealthy book collector by the name of Boris Balkan (Frank Langella) to authenticate a rare and very special book in his possession, "The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of the Shadows". There are only three surviving copies and Balkan is convinced that only one is authentic and the others, forgeries. Corso takes up the job and then begin his investigations and a very mysterious odyssey full of twists and turns. To reveal anything more would be a crime. One should watch the movie to experience it completely.

Polanski has incorporated all the elements that make for a great movie. An interesting plot (based on "El Club Dumas", by Arturo Pérez-Reverte), Darius Khondji's brilliant cinematography, Wojciech Kilar's killer background score, Polanski's masterful direction and the overall atmospheric nature of the movie make up for a great watch! Not to mention some great acting from Johnny Depp (always dependable) and Frank Langella. And let's not forget Mrs. Polanski herself, Emmanuelle Seigner in a very interesting role.

As for the poor reviews this film generally got, I must say I am stumped. There is not a single weak moment; the proceedings glide by smoothly, and are more than intriguing. Suffice to say, it's a very well made film and a fascinating experience.

Never mind, that some so-called critics have lambasted it for some unanswered questions and ambiguities in the story. They are probably the kind who like everything packaged in a neat order with ends all tied up, and are averse to enigma and ambiguity. My viewpoint is that there may be untied ends and unanswered questions...but it is nothing that can't be figured out.

The Ninth Gate is the kind of movie that you would wanna watch again..and then discuss it with fellow-viewers..then watch it again. And am sure, every viewing will yield newer ideas and interpretations..


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