Friday, February 06, 2015

The Ninth Gate

The Ninth Gate is a 1999 Roman Polanski film starring Johnny Depp and Frank Langella. Slow, predictable and too long, I loved the actors but won't sit through this again. The best thing about it was being reminded of how good Depp was back when he actually acted.


Moria says, "While not a bad film by any means, it sits along there with Pirates and Frantic as one of Polanski’s not-quite-rans." The Guardian says, "this really is an exasperatingly boring film, and it is incredible that it is from the man who long ago brought us authentically frightening films in which evil really means something." DVD Talk likes it better than most, calling it a "superior horror hybrid that just misses greatness".

Roger Ebert says,
...only gradually do we realize the movie isn't going to pay off. It has good things in it, and I kept hoping Polanski would take the plot by the neck and shake life into it, but no. After the last scene, I underlined on my note pad: What?
Empire Online says, "A strong first act, stunning cinematography and an appealing performance from Johnny Depp lull you into a false sense of security, before PolanskiĆ­s sense of the extremely ridiculous takes over, and, unfortunately, the whole thing rapidly descends into sub-End Of Days nonsense."


  1. I had to check if this was the one with Lena Olin, and it was. I saw it years ago, just for her, but can´t remember anything about it. My feeling is not enthusiastic, though. I´d probably agree with you if I saw it again (which I wouldn´t).

    1. I know Lena Olin from the film Chocolat, which is worth watching again. There are images from the 9th Gate which stick with me, and there's a lot of talent involved here. If I were going to watch a Polanski film again, though, I'd pick Repulsion. If I were picking a Depp movie to watch again I'd go with Don Juan DeMarco. There are so many of their films I haven't seen the 1st time that I'd love to see.

  2. Had to laugh at your comment about Depp acting. The only time I remember him is when he was in 21 Jump Street. I watched the entire series a few years ago on Hulu. When he gave up his teen idol status in exchange for eye liner, I stopped watching him. I can only imagine that the preview was better than the actual film.

    Wanted to mention, too, about your WalMart comment. I tell people the story of how WalMart came to be so big and powerful was because they took lessons from Mao Tse-tong. Mao started with a small army and took over small towns and villages along the way to his destination in northern China. He didn't try to take big cities in the beginning, but got his (temporary) power because he captured small towns that could easily be overcome. By the time he reached his destination, his army and followers were so prevalent and powerful, it was easy for him to take REAL control of power. And that's exactly what WalMart did, in my opinion. Not with war, or take overs in the same way, but in market research, disabling the nay-sayers in small towns, working their way into city and county meetings, and getting much of their land donated for more than a few years at no cost or taxes.

    I saw it first hand back in the late 80s, early 90s, when I worked in a small KS town that was taken over by WalMart. They put Ben Franklin, a Hallmark Drug Store, and a hardware store out of business BEFORE they ever had their grand opening. The sad thing is, those were the taxpayers who were paying for the land WalMart built their facility on. So, like you, I have NO love for WalMart. But, the quote and image were funny, none-the-less.

    1. and the wealthy WalMart owners have huge profits while refusing to pay workers a living wage or benefits, so taxpayers subsidize WalMart wages in the form of public assistance while the owners laugh all the way to the bank. So sad :(