Anyone who prefers to remember Johnny Depp’s heyday with all the drama that is currently happening around him will be treated to one of his darkest highlights from the pre-Jack Sparrow era on TV tonight: “The Nine Gates”.
Leaving aside the War of the Roses with ex-wife Amber Heard, the first thing you associate Johnny Depp with is either his role as cult pirate Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean or the numerous roles he has played in Tim Burton hatched. It’s easy to forget that the superstar also gained a foothold in genre cinema around the turn of the millennium with a few horror thrillers – with films such as “From Hell” (2001) and of course “The Nine Gates” (1999).
The latter was denied great success at the box office despite the famous book, filmmaker icon Roman Polanski (“Rosemary’s Baby”) in the director’s chair and Depp in the leading role, but the atmospheric mix of horror, mystery, and neo-noir thriller is still enjoying great popularity to this day. Sat.1 is showing “The Nine Gates” on May 15, 2022, from 10:50 p.m and we can only recommend that you take a look if you haven’t seen the film for a long time or if you haven’t seen it at all. You can expect diabolical suspense cinema that, even after more than 20 years, captivates from the first to the last minute. Alternatively, “The Nine Gates” is also available for a small thaler on DVD and Blu-ray as well as a stream:
“The Nine Gates”: A must for occult fans
At the center of “The Ninth Gate” (the original title) is the unscrupulous Dean Corso (Johnny Depp), who earns his living by finding literary rarities with unfair means and selling them on for a lot of money. One day, when Boris Balkan (Frank Langella), a collector of the devil’s book, offers him a horrendous sum to check the authenticity of an edition of “The Nine Gates into the Realm of Shadows” by comparing it with the other two existing copies, he of course agrees – and soon realizes that there seems to be a lot more to the book than he originally thought…
“The Nine Gates” completely dispenses with jump scares, clumsy moments of shock, or other showmanship, but comes along almost leisurely, but crawls deeper and deeper under the skin, the deeper Dean Corso dives into the gorge of hell. The film thrives on its strong cast (including Lena Olin) and its incredibly dense atmosphere and thus develops a dark pull that you can hardly escape.
Author Björn Helbig awarded 4 out of 5 possible stars in the DashFUN review at the time and wrote, among other things: “It is completely incomprehensible why this atmospherically staged, ambiguous mystery thriller is counted among Polanski’s weaker works.” A statement that is as valid today as it was then.