"Thus open the gates of paradise."

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The Ninth Gate

06 Apr 2002

Johnny Depp, reading this review.
Photo from the French web site.

Well, I was pretty much mesmerized by this film. Johnny Depp plays a the Indiana Jones of the antiquarian book world, looking for the last remaining copies of an book on The Devil. Yeah, yeah. Whatever. Even if you don't buy any of that folklore, it's still a good ride, stylishly done, and is better than pretty much everything else in theatres at the moment (the competition: "Mission To Mars", and "Eye Of The Beholder", both of which are proof that the devil does exist and is able to greenlight even the most dreadful of films.)

Being an avid book buyer, which I recognize is a creature different from a collector, I was nonetheless disturbed to see all of the book experts in the film smoking (save one) as they handled old books worth millions of dollars. In fact, "disturbed" barely touches it. Imagine you saw film footage of one of the great chefs of the world preparing a splendid meal. Imagine he or she scratching him or herself in a very personal way while cooking, but not washing their hands. Imagine them dropping a spoon on the floor, then putting it back in the pot. Now cut to gastronomes in the dining room savoring the wonderful steaming flavors. Perhaps now you've got it.

If you've never seen one of Polanski's films before, this would not be a bad introduction. It makes up for "Frantic", which I thought was a big snooze fest, and is at least on par with "Bitter Moon" which I felt like a blow to kidneys. Boiled, with steak in a pie.

Related Links
The Ninth Gate (Official Web Site)
Là Neuvième Porte (Official Web Site)
The Ninth Gate (IMDB)
Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of Canada
International League of Antiquarian Booksellers