Light Reading Turns Dark in Ninth Gate
Cancel the search party, we found him: Johnny Depp in a crappy Satanic horror movie called Ninth Gate. I only call it crappy because it’s one of those forgettable Netflix once-offs that’s lovely to see once, but any more than that and we’re going to have a problem. The problem is, the protagonists are too pretty. Both of ‘em. Johnny Depp and Emmanuelle Seigner? Get to the sex scene unprepared and you might rupture a blood vessel. Get to it several times, and you might rupture a lot more than that. That’s a joke, see.
As I was saying before you interrupted me, Ninth Gate is a film about collectors of Satanist literature, and the things they will do to see their goals through to the end. Dean Corso is a dealer of rare books, and a scoundrel when it comes to undercutting his competitors, and it is for that very reason that Boris Balkan hires him to hunt down one of the rarest pieces of Satanist literature known to man: The Ninth Gate of the Kingdom of Shadows. More than a book hunt, Corso is hired to validate the authenticity of the remaining three copies of this ancient, eeevil tome.
On the flipside, Lena Olin, the wife of the man who sold Balkan the sacred Satanist work, wants her property back at all costs. “At all costs” to a worshipper of the King of Demons should have obvious implications, suffice it to say she plays the part of the antagonist up until the moment in which she doesn’t.
Throughout his journey, Corso is offered assistance by an unnamed girl with an air of mystery about her. At least, that’s what is intended. If you’ve even an inkling of how Satan works by movie standards, you’ll know exactly which role Emmanuelle Seigner fills with her evasive half-answers, curious disappearances, and glowing eyes. Spoiler alert, of course, but it doesn’t play a very large role in the greater plot. No, the sex scene isn’t a part of the greater plot. Get off my back, you.
I would say Ninth Gate would go down best preceded or followed by Rosemary’s Baby, as the two have thematic similarities that blend well. If you’re hoping Johnny Depp will make this one great, you’ll be disappointed, but that doesn’t mean you can’t kill some time watching him fend off cultists in goofy robes.
Total Film pulls no punches in saying that Ninth Gate is just another heaping helping of Satan’s leavings. Unoriginal, uninspired, the like. Ninth Gate is standard as far as throwaway horror movies go, which leads me to believe that the only reason this review was so brutal is because of Depp’s presence in the cast. I could be wrong, but good actors in bad movies tend to yield such brutal reviews. Here’s the alt review so you can see if I’m right: http://www.totalfilm.com/reviews/cinema/the-ninth-gate