One of the greatest (and vastly underrated) gifts Roman Polanski has is the ability to make you laugh. THE NINTH GATE is a delightful romp in atmosphere and gallows humor, suffused with Darius Khondji's exquisite lighting and baroque production design by Dean Tavoularis (GODFATHER). Ten years after NINTH GATE, Polanski would "remake" this film as THE GHOST WRITER with a better script but same Hitchcockian-isms.
Like Eyes Wide Shut; conspiracies leading nowhere. The machinations of the genre used to suggest a character's state of mind; his fears, anxieties. A character on the edge in a world of fiction, in a film obsessed with the nature of fiction. Polanski would remake the conventions of this film with a straight face in The Ghost Writer. Here it's played for laughs, but the result is closer to the alchemy of cinema.
There's a lot to like in bits and pieces and its pretty serviceable thriller, with some pure Polanksi moments. But overall I didn't get the impression the Polanski's heart was really in this one with the exception of some impressive set pieces and the offbeat use of his wife's casting as a demon(?) who knows karate. Other than that I'd have to confirm this a minor film from Polanski. Has redeeming qualities.
It's a somewhat silly film, but I find that I quite enjoy it for its gothic subject matter, its rareness as a "book detective" story, and Polanski's seasoned mise-en-scene mastery. I just love watching him work.
A much underrated Polanski. Personally I think it's better than Rosemary's Baby. Total hokum (unless you're a practicing Satanist) but enjoyable hokum and brilliantly made. I like the sex scene at the end.
Polanski gets into satan's territory once again, but with less fortune. Johnny Depp is great in the lead role, but the story kind of lacks punch. overall, an interesting, ambiguous, slow paced picture with just a few remarkable moments.