The Ninth Gate - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
plays Dean Corso, a man the specializes in acquiring, appraising, and selling rare books. And a man who will do just about anything for money. So when he is contacted by an occultist, Boris Balkan
, interested in authenticating his copy of The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of the Shadows
, a book reportedly inspired by the writings of Satan himself, and one that is rumored to allow someone to summon Satan to Earth. As soon as he takes this job, he begins to notice strange people following him, his apartment is ransacked, etc. It seems many forces are trying to get their hands on that book, including the widow
of the previous owner, who will do anything
to get it back. (Wink.) When a friend of his is murdered in a way reminiscent of one of the woodcarvings in the book
, he wants out, but it is clear that he is too fan in to do so and he must see his job to the very end.
This is a movie with a good beginning; the setup works and the early detective work is sufficiently creepy to get you interested. But then it never goes beyond that. You watch the movie always expecting it to reach the next level, to go beyond the initial setup. It never really does. We do get a few surprise twists thrown in, but by the hour mark, most audience members will have their resolve tested. I like the film noir detective work with the supernatural angle, but it all feels so incomplete.
(Also, more than once while watching this movie there was a character that was acting out of sorts, or a scene that didn't look real. I couldn't tell if this was intentional, as to heighten the atmosphere, or if it was just a case of bad green screen or weak acting. "Is that character in on it? Or is the actor just a big ham?")
Extras on the Blu-ray include an audio commentary track with the director, but it is not a strong track, as it is too dry to hold your interest. There is a 2-minute featurette called Featurette in the menu, and it's as imaginative as its name indicates. There are also two image galleries, but I don't consider those to be true special features, unless they are truly above the ordinary. They are not. The video is strong, but not one of the best I've seen. I do like the 7.1 surround audio presentation, on the other hand, and at just $14, it's a good value.
The Ninth Gate is a movie that could have been great, but struggles to get past mediocre. If you have it on DVD and have been upgrading your collection, then the Blu-ray is a better deal than most similar release. If you've never seen the film before, I would say rent it and go from there.