The Ninth Gate (2000)

THE NINTH GATE is a gas, I'm entirely surprised to report.  Roman 
Polanski's latest is a half-camp, half-straight-faced Euro-thriller 
starring Johnny Depp as a "book detective" (their words) research-
ing a rare Satanic text.  See, there's this wealthy occult-ologist 
in New York (Frank Langella, looking heavier and nerdier) who be-
lieves his centuries-old copy could be a fake.  So, he sends Depp's 
chain-smoking character to Europe, to compare Copy A with Copies B 
and C, the only others in existence.  Sleuthing ensues, along with 
a dollop of sex and increasing amounts of murderous mayhem.  Depp,
looking a decade older than his SLEEPY HOLLOW self, keeps stumbling 
across dead bodies.  That is, when not being seduced, slugged, 
chased, followed, or encountering yet another mystery woman with 
martial arts prowess.  (In an amusing post-coital moment, he also 
quips *the* quintessential retort to the threat "don't f*** with 
me.")  It's all played pretty straight, through probably not enough 
for some.  They'll scream "silly" at a pair of cackling, identical-
twin European book restorers.  Or at the many "stalking" camera 
shots.  Or, my favorite, at Langella concluding his strangulation 
of someone by exclaiming "boo!"  Hilarious.  Beware, too, the mul-
tiple endings, each of which makes increasing less sense than the 
one before.  Just what *was* Johnny Boy's motivation at the end, 
anyway...  Speaking of Satanism (oh, how long I've waited to write 
that line), take a peek at "Lucifer Rising" by Gavin Bradley (Plex-
us Publishing, 1999).  "Sin, Devil Worship, and Rock 'n' Roll" is 
the subject of this fascinating, 256-page trade paperback that 
traces the history of Satanism, its presence in 20th Century cul-
ture, and its many manifestations at the end of the millenium.  
Heavy metal is covered, in its many forms, as are such historical 
figures as Aleister Crowley, Kenneth Anger, and Anton LaVey.  Plus 
some naughty photos.  And, of course, if anyone asks why you're 
reading and/or buying such a book, just say "the Devil made me do 

Grade: B

Copyright 2000 by Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies as MOVIE HELL: What is This That Stands Before Me?

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Copyright 2001 by Michael J. Legeros - Movie Hell™ is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros