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Roman Polanski making an occult movie seemed fairly intriguing to me, and for the first half or so I really enjoyed The Ninth Gate. The concept of the devil's engravings was spot on for the genre, and the use of various European locations added to the atmosphere. Unfortunately - like others have remarked - the last 10 minutes didn't really work, and this affected the impression of the entire movie which sort of fell apart in retrospect.
On the plus side, there were some striking images - like Frank Langella's fire scene, or the wheelchair/fire scene - that only a first-rate filmmaker like Polanski could come up with. Like other viewers I thought about Eyes Wide Shut during some scenes, but that was a much more serious and developed movie. I liked Johnny Depp's performance, though his character was unsympathetic and he didn't seem as focused as in Donnie Brasco for instance. Those who like me have dabbled in rare book or rare record dealing may take a special interest in The Ninth Gate as Polanski in passing gives a sardonic but believable peek into the mechanics of that trade.
Someone called this a 'lazy' movie by Polanski, and I guess that's a good description. You can see the talent and the fun he had, but there was no real commitment. 6.5 / 10.
Posted by Patrick at Lysergia at 9:22 PM MEST
Updated: 10 August 2013 12:38 AM MEST