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Category:    Home > Reviews > Thriller > Mystery > Supernatural > The Ninth Gate (1999/Lionsgate Blu-ray)

The Ninth Gate (1999/Lionsgate Blu-ray)


Picture: C+     Sound: B-     Extras: D     Film: D



Before his legal troubles were recently revived, Roman Polanski had made a comeback as a filmmaker, though many of his films since he left Hollywood have not been so great.  One that has a small following that did not do well and I felt fell apart with an ending that was almost laughable and desperate was The Ninth Gate (1999) with Johnny Depp before he became a commercial actor playing “that pirate” for Disney.


He plays a book collector and scholar who finds himself crossing into the occult arena when some rare books he seeks may conjure up Satan himself.  However, he is not the only person aware of the power of the books, so others are interested and some will kill for those books.  Frank Langella and Emmanuelle Seigner also star in this slow-moving, somewhat smart, but ultimately failed attempt to do a smart supernatural thriller.  Not much in the way of thrills or suspense here, yet the actors give good performances.


The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image is a big disappointment looking very soft and detail challenged versus the 35mm print I screened ten years ago, so this must be an early HD master.  Darius Khondji, A.F.C., A.S.C., did a far netter job with the scope frame than you can see here.  The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless 7.1 mix is better than the Dolby Digital 5.1 on previous DVD releases, but not by much as the lossless codec shows the limits of the sound which is too stretched out by the 7.1 configuration, though it may be down a generation.  Extras include a making-of featurette, two still sections and feature length audio commentary by Polanski.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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