From 2012 onwards, before developing this blog, I wrote a multitude of reviews on the website Letterboxd. In this irregular series called From the Vault, I’m going to haul these earlier reviews out of mothballs and re-purpose them here.
This one is from August 25th, 2014…
The Ninth Gate is a strange one from Roman Polanski, a director who has of course dabbled in the occult landscape he again taps here, arguably to greater success.
Adapted from the Spanish novel El Club Dumas by Arturo Perez-Reverte, Polanski’s film is quite an elegant, cultured malaise of a story that could almost define the term ‘slow burn’, if it even burns at all. To many undoubtedly it’s subject matter–an unscrupulous book dealer is hired to find a tome that may be able to raise the Devil–would be inherently boring and Polanski’s careful construction of Johnny Depp’s lead character’s journey snooze inducing, yet oddly enough there is just something about the way Polanski shoots this, something about the manner of his narrative and the mysterious, seductive, beguiling characters involved that keeps you entertained – not to mention a sly sense of absurdity lurking underneath which, despite it’s posturing, suggests the director knows how silly the whole endeavour is.
The result is a beguiling occult thriller.Continue reading “From the Vault #8: THE NINTH GATE (1999)”