Reviewed by: Brad D. Francis
|Featuring||Johnny Depp, Frank Langella, Lena Olin, Emmanuelle Seigner, Barbara Jefford|
“The Ninth Gate” is just plain evil. Let me just give you all fair warning in case you haven’t caught on by the pentagram on the movie ads: this film is about Satan. If you may or may not still be interested in this movie, read on.
Johnny Depp stars as book merchant Dean Corso, a shady, but likable character who sees money as his main goal, but knows his business.
Bring on the plot.
Antique book collector Boris Balkan (Frank Langella, ultimately a laughable villain) reveals to Corso his “private collection”: all ancient books dealing with the devil. The pinnacle of his collection is a book entitled “The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of the Shadows,” a book allegedly written based upon the author’s experience with a mythical sort of bible written by Satan himself. Somehow, this book of which only two other copies exist is supposed to summon the devil if handled correctly. Corso is given the task of examining the three books to assess their authenticity.
This movie’s moral flaws are numerous when you chalk up the whole theme. Corso has sex with two different people (one of whom we suspect is a demon). The first encounter “only” reveals groping and the like, whereas the second is much more graphic and shows a woman’s naked breasts. The language is what you’d expect from an R-rated film, and the violence is moderate.
There is very little redeeming quality in this movie. It seems everyone is corrupted, and I don’t think we see any characters who aren’t ultimately demonic.
The ending is really dumb, very anti-climatic. It was as if the producer suddenly looked at his watch and said, “Oh my! We’d better end this movie in the next thirty seconds!” The story does weave an intriguing tale… for a while. Then the writers lost direction and clearly never found it again. Don’t be too disappointed.
In the end, most Christians will want to avoid this movie completely. The glorified Satanism probably won’t do anybody any favors, and it’s really not all that exciting to watch in any case. I was entertained for two hours, but there’s no value beyond that. Johnny Depp is likable, but he can’t (and doesn’t) carry the movie by himself.
Beware “The Ninth Gate.”