THE NINTH GATE (1999) Reviews and overview


‘The only thing more terrifying than searching for the Devil… is finding him.’

The Ninth Gate is a 1999 French-Spanish-American dark thriller film directed, produced, and co-written by Roman Polanski (Repulsion; The Fearless Vampire Killers; Rosemary’s Baby).

The plot involves a rare book business, wherein rare-book dealer Dean Corso is hired by bibliophile Boris Balkan to validate a seventeenth-century copy of The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of Shadows, by Aristide Torchia, and what he encounters en route. The Nine Gates is an imaginary book, but is heavily inspired by the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili.

  • Johnny Depp as Dean Corso
  • Lena Olin as Liana Telfer
  • Frank Langella as Boris Balkan
  • Emmanuelle Seigner as The Girl
  • Barbara Jefford as the Baroness Frida Kessler
  • Jack Taylor as Victor Fargas
  • José López Rodero as Pablo Ceniza and Pedro Ceniza, and 1st and 2nd workmen
  • Tony Amoni as Liana’s bodyguard
  • James Russo as Bernie
  • Maria Ducceshi as The Secretary


“The film creeps along, gathering information if not momentum, and never delivers. Atmosphere is well and good, but it needs a story to carry it along, and this one mires itself in one slow scene after another, all of which add information to the story, but then much of it either does not pay off or is disappointing when it does …” Norman Short, DVD Verdict

” …very mysterious, engrossing, has a few subtle optical effects (don’t blink) and grows on you like fungus. I became as obsessed about Corso’s search as he was. Even though the movie has a slow pace, it is never boring, the script is tight, the dialogue sharp, the twists interesting and the ending will have you thinking and yapping for hours on end.” John Fallon, Arrow in the Head

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Related: The Fearless Vampire Killers | The Ninth Gate | Repulsion | Rosemary’s Baby | The Tenant