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The Ninth Gate

  R HD Closed Captioning

Roman Polanski

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Plot Summary

An authority on rare books is drawn into a confrontation with the forces of darkness in this thriller directed by Roman Polanski. Dean Corso (Johnny Depp) is a rare book broker who makes his living tracking down valuable items for rich bibliophiles. Corso is hired by Boris Balkan (Frank Langella), a millionaire New Yorker with a vast collection of occult literature and a keen interest in "The Nine Gates to the Kingdom of Shadows." Legend has it that the book was co-written by Satan in the 17th century, and only three copies are known to exist; the owner of one recently sold the book to Balkan a few days before killing himself. Balkan wants Corso to find the other two copies (one owned by a Mr. Fargas in Portugal and the other by a French collector named Kessler) and examine them to determine if they are forgeries. Corso is told to be thorough and spare no expense. He begins by visiting Liana Telfer (Lena Olin), the widow of the man who once owned Balkan's copy of the book, who has an unusually strong desire to get the book back, and confers with his friend Bernie (James Russo), who soon turns up dead, in a manner much like an illustration from the book. Corso learns that the book contains clues to a puzzle that will allow people to call up the devil, and certain people will stop at nothing to find the missing parts of the formula.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 87
  • Fresh: 36
  • Rotten: 51
  • Average Rating: 4.9/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Rotten: Early on I thought I could almost smell the sharp must of the leather bindings ... but that scent was just the aroma of middle-brow, art-house Euro-rot, a whiff of decay and hauteur. – Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly, Sep 7, 2011

Fresh: Elegant, scary fun. – Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune, Jun 24, 2010

Rotten: The self-immolating and oblivion-bound Ninth Gate is the kind of film that's going to give satanic cults a bad name. – Jay Carr, Boston Globe, Jun 24, 2010

Fresh: Compulsively watchable. – Peter Brunette,, Jun 24, 2010

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

A sophisticated "devil" movie, but not the best

This movie is based on the book The Club Dumas, which has absolutely nothing to do with the movie (but is a good book and should be read). Roman Polanski is the director of this quirky film that leaves most audiences divided. Half of the people I have spoken to do not like this film while the others truly love it. I love it. With each repeated watching it only becomes better as it is a movie of subtlty and details: it is not a "thinking" or "deep" movie, but it is a decent facsimile of one. To me, as a lover of books, the movie "reads" much like a book in this genre would. I can see how some will find the unanswered questions and the ending as annoying if they like everything to be wrapped up tidily at the end of the movie but it did not bother me (perhaps I have been watching too much Japanese and Chinese dramas lately). Johnny Depp's performace also put people off because they were expecting a jolly character more in tune with what they thought this heart throb would be. Instead we have a character who is much like House (from House MD) but who lacks even the morals House has. Depp's character is a bad person, but I find the character charming regardless. As a "satan/devil movie" goes, this one is rather sophisticated even if it is not the best the genre has to offer.

Underappreciated Polanski film

I'm sorry, even Roman Polanski's minor films are a thousand times better than most. This one is filmed with great Polanski-esque images like a burning woman in a wheelchair. Sure, it's a hokey story but its done really well. Also check out the similar "The Tenant".

This movie was great!

I personally love most movies that are thrillers, and pretty much all movies Johnny is in. Judging from everyone else's view, you will either love or hate this film. But if you hate it, why did you buy it in the first place? I would highly recommend this film to anyone who likes Mr. Depp or thriller films. The director was in fact a genius and I have never seen a single film that Johnny has not been superb at. He plays his roles with an unusual finesse and character I have rarely witnessed. Yes I was one of the people who loved this film, but what does that mean to you? Nothing. All I'm asking is, just watch the film. Enjoy it. Do nothing more.

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The Ninth Gate
View In iTunes
  • $16.99
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Released: 2000

Customer Ratings