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The Ninth Gate 1999
Description: An all-expenses-paid international find for a rare copy of the book, 'The Nine Gates of the Shadow Kingdom' brings an unscrupulous ebook dealer deep into a globe of murder, double-dealing and satanic worship.
Released: 10 Mar 2000 Director: Roman Polanski Writers: Arturo Pérez-Reverte (novel), John Brownjohn (screenplay), Enrique Urbizu (screenplay), Roman Polanski (screenplay) Actors: Johnny Depp, Frank Langella, Lena Olin, Emmanuelle Seigner Genres: Mystery, Thriller
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The Ninth Gate Reviews:

A SPOILERI was inspired to write this, my first movie commentary ever, when I was reading through those already posted. It struck me that nobody seemed to have got who "the girl" (played by Polanski's wife Emmanuelle Seigner) is! Everybody who mentions her -- and most do -- tell she's in the movie for no reason, she keeps appearing and disappearing to no effect, she's never explained, and that the movie would've been much better if Polanski had only left her on the cutting room floor.I hope Polanski is getting a kick out of this: the fact that nobody has got the secret of this, his most newest (and I think brilliant) film. I hope he's reached the mission in his life and career where he cares more about making the art he had in mind than he does about whether folks are getting it.Darlings, "the girl" IS Lucifer!! It's right out there in plain view. And this is the pretty irony of this movie: that s(he) IS right out there in plain view, to all these folks who are seeking her, and doing all this items to summon her, and she's right there -- which is one of the oft-told truths about gods and deities throughout time, that they're right there, right next door to you, and you don't even notice them. This is the truth (one of them) that Polanski is putting on screen here. Witness the stage in the St. Martin Chateau where "the girl" crosses paths with Mrs. Telfer; look at the expression on the girl's face; it is ironic and absolutely amused. And there are more "clues" -- many more.The woman is the only person in the movie with current supernatural powers. She floats. She is everytime around whenever Lucifer is being discussed. Although she repeatedly rescues Corso, she has anything but an angelic face. Her pretty face has a subtext of evil and corruption. She anoints Corso with her blood in an arcane symbol on his forehead! And -- the giveaway -- when she finally has sex with him, didn't you notice that her eyes turn into demon eyes? that she morphs into a devil?This is really a love story. It is about Lucifer finding a friend -- the person s(he) will agree to enter through the Ninth Gate into his/her kingdom. You can see how "the girl" is evaluating all the candidates throughout the movie and how s(he) decides on Corso who is, after all, corrupt from the very beginning and therefore a likely candidate. Witness the stage when Corso is beating Pablo to death, pounding him repeatedly on the face. "The girl" tells "Well, Mr. Corso, I didn't know you had it in you." She is obviously satisfied with him; she is selecting her mate!!!! The reason she keeps rescuing him is because he is the one she's seriously considering.Watch the movie again. See if I'm not right.Anyway, what probably has Polanski laughing is the fact that he managed to disguise all this so brilliantly simply by making Lucifer a girl. He's probably a bit surprised by how fully this easy gender-switch had the audience fully fooled! If "the girl" had been "the boy" -- an equally pretty young boy who follows Corso throughout the movie -- I'm sure half the audience would've gotten it. But nobody, still, can imagine that the mythic figure of the devil should be female. But of course! The gods are androgynous; they have to be!And Polanski adds yet other layer of irony and humor by dressing "the girl" as a student with various color socks: the most innocent, innocuous, universal and asexual dress imaginable. Place yourself in Lucifer's shoes. Isn't this how you'd disguise yourself, if you were making a visit to earth? Obviously it is because, if the folks who saw this film are any sample, nobody would suspect.


This is not so much a film review (those are done well elsewhere), but a theory about the ending of the film and who Corso really represents.SPOILER ALERT**** I too have enjoyed reading the posts and have come up with something that I just wanted to throw out there. Corso is a biblical figure--he is the serpent in the ninth engraving. After all Corso experiences every of the engravings on his quest, so logically he would have to experience the ninth engraving as well. Since the girl in the ninth engraving is "The Girl"--who presumably is the Whore of Bablyon (a situation will be made soon on that the whore=Lucifer), the only person that Corso should be is the beast---which is a subtle but strong mission of the film/book.The beast in the engraving has 7 heads which should conceivably represent the seven deadly sins--(i) pride (ii) envy (iii) gluttony (iv) lust (v) wrath (vi) greed (vii) sloth--throughout the movie Corso commits every one of these sins, but it is done gradually. The mission being that while everyone is on the lookout for a "beast" or another poor monster it should now just be humanity falling victim to the sins. When Corso kills the boy in the cellar the woman exclaims "I didn't think you had it in you." This is what sealed his fate as her selected one.Just like "The girl" Polanski puts Corso right out there in front of everyone to see, but we tend to ignore him and focus on the evils committed by Boris and Liana. But those folks are not who the devil is interested in, the devil wants folks who are consistent and gradual with their sinning. Corso is excellent as this "everyman." Incidentally this is why I think "The Girl" represents Lucifer, because she is out there for everyone to see. All the idiots are busy trying to summon the Devil but she is right there for everyone to see. (refer to diana 51's post somewhere here for more on this, she does a nice job as do many others). Just like folks are everytime looking for the sign of the beast or his return--and tend to lose the forest from the trees (i.e. their own sins) Incidentally the "whore of Babylon" symbolism is apt because, just as a whore is a servant, she can become a master. just like the woman in the movie--she "served" Corso at many points but she also made it clear who was boss (i.e. when she twisted his arm after he grabbed her in the hotel lobby and when she held him back from saving Liana from Boris).More generally Whores are there to offer instant gratification, but many boys have fallen victim to manipulation and have crashed their lives in pursuit of a whore. (This argument is not meant to limit whore to just male/female, a whore presumably offers instant gratification, thus it is more beneficial to think of a whore as anyone who offers the fast fix--which is the Devil for all intents and purposes). However in order to receive that fast fix how many of the seven deadly sins gotta a person commit?Chances are that a several transgressions would normally be in order.The reason that "The girl"/Lucifer picks Corso out of all the another evil folks is because he doesn't commit the sins all at once for the fast fix. He begins out his quest purely for greed, and a long the method commits every sin as he sees fit or just for the hell of it (i.e. sleeping with Liana even though he had no intention of giving her the book; accepting other "zero" to the paycheck even though a mate of his was killed; not caring about getting paid by Boris at the end--he wants the engravings). Finally when he realizes the power that is at stake he is willing to create the ultimate jump to wrath (first he kills the guy in the cellar and then he kills Balkan when on fire). BUT both times he didn't need to slay those people, he should have left Liana's helper knocked out and he should have allow Boris burn to death, but he just wanted to slay them out of anger (contrast this to Boris who killed for the pages in the book--and killed Liana so that she would stop bothering him). Gradual decent into evil and darkness is what endeared Corso to Lucifer/"The Girl" and that is why he came to Corso in the form of a girl and helped him along his path. Ultimately you become one with the devil when you commit all seven deadly sins because that is the power that humans have--to select between nice and evil. That is symbolized by the ninth engraving with the girl "riding" the seven deadly sins--and thus unlocking the gate into the Kingdom of Shadows.(Because the word limit is set at a 1000 for comments, this post is not able to discuss some another interesting points that are brought up by others. There are some who trust that Corso is not evil at all, or rather that he has no choice in his path (i.e. he attempted to save Liana and he shot Boris out of compassion). I attempt to give my take on that in a post located at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0142688/board/nest/41792586 (May 4, 2006 @ 11:04), but it's meant to be a complement to this post). Please forgive any repetitions. The variation in interpretations of this film only reinforce the fact that it is a special cinematic gem.


SPOILERS - - - - - - -- I just watched this film again and there are a several comments I would like to add to the general ideas. Firstly, my impression of THE GIRL was that she was like a Valkyrie of Norse Myth, she chose who would create it to Valhalla, or Hell in this case. But she should be the devil herself certainly. Although this film was about selecting one person to be enlightened (as they told "Thus allow the light shine" on the front engraving) or if you insist on being terribly judeo-Christian-Islamic about it, de-enlightened, this should have been only one of many through the ages as De Torquia himself gotta have been chosen, for example. Also, The current 9th plate engraving shows a 7 headed beast which may be the 7 deadly sins, however, it shows the beast harnessed and being ridden by the woman reading a book, meaning she had overcome the pull of the sins and tamed them by education.Also, the 2nd time Corso visits the store of the brothers Ceneza, the two guys there (workmen) were played by the same one guy who played both Cenesa brothers. I checked the credits to be sure. Plus, the same child's voice on both visits says, "Si, Si Mama!" suggesting that the store exists outside of "real" time.To eat from the tree of the KNOWLEDGE of nice and evil is to understand duality thus the serpent should be seen as the bringer of enlightenment not death. the first two times Corso sees dead bodies (Bernie and Vargas) he tells Jesus Christ or God Almight, thus signaling the god as he is generally understood is the bringer of death, not life.The woman is overlooked because she appears poor, badly dressed and unwashed. Telfer and Balkan would never have spoken to her, even though she is the method to what they claim to seek. They can never "see" her. Balkan wears thick glasses and Corso's glasses receive broken symbolizing that what is commonly agreed as a method to see really hinders current "seeing".The Baroness "saw" the devil when she was 15 and sought him ever since but she also fell by the wayside by distraction. Balkan, by sending Corso to do the work (even though it was his concept to compare the books) shows he is not worthy. Corso did things he never thought he would do. He went through streams, begged rides, rode with animals and walked to receive to the tower. He may have followed those who forged the way, but HE was willing to see her and personally do what it took. I think any of those folks should have been selected if they had "seen" and done the work themselves. Instead they all got rich and lazy while Corso is described as "lean and hungry". Just some concepts I got from this nice nice work of art. I'm going to read the nove on which it was based.



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