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Roman Polanski writes and directs this thriller set in the world of rare books. Johnny Depp gets entwined in a supernatural conspiracy while tracking down the two remaining copies of a demonic text.
Review by David Bruce

T
HE NINTH GATE
(2000)

Directed by Roman Polanski
Writing credits John Brownjohn and Roman Polanski
Arturo Pérez-Reverte (novel The Club Dumas).

Johnny Depp as Dean Corso
Frank Langella as Boris Balkan
Lena Olin as Liana Telfer
Emmanuelle Seigner as The Girl
Barbara Jefford as Baroness Kessler
Jack Taylor as Victor Fargas
José López Rodero as Pablo and Pedro Ceniza
James Russo as Bernie

Produced by Mark Allan (co-producer), Antonio Cardenal (co-producer), Michel Cheyko (executive), Wolfgang Glattes (executive), Adam Kempton (associate), Iñaki Núñez (co-producer), Roman Polanski, Alain Vannier (co-producer), Suzanne Wiesenfeld

Original music by Wojciech Kilar
Cinematography by Darius Khondji
Film Editing by Hervé de Luze

Rated R for some violence and sexuality. 127 minutes.

STUDIO SYNOPSIS
Dean Corso (Johnny Depp) is highly skilled at his work, a position that requires dexterity, cultural expertise, nerves of steel...and few scruples. Known for locating rare books for wealthy collectors, Corso is hired by eminent book-lover and scholar of demonology, Boris Balkan (Frank Langella). Corso's mission: to find the last two volumes of the legendary manual of satanic invocation "The Nine Gates of the Shadow Kingdom," compare them with Balkan's first volume, supposedly the only one of its kind, and ascertain the authenticity of the series. Corso accepts the challenge. From New York to Toledo, Paris to Cintra, he immerses himself in a labyrinth full of pitfalls and temptations, disturbing encounters, violence and mysterious deaths. Protected by an angelic creature (Emmanuelle Seigner) and guided by a force more powerful than himself, the hunter solves one by one the mysteries of the dreaded Book and discovers the real purpose of his mission...

SATAN'S BIBLE -THE GOSPEL OF DEATH
Balkan has recently acquired a long-coveted, seventeenth-century satanic text called "The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of the Shadows" from a fellow collector, Andrew Telfer, who committed suicide the very next day.

Galatians 1:8 Let God's curse fall on anyone, including myself, who preaches any other message than the one we told you about. Even if an angel comes from heaven and preaches any other message, let him be forever cursed.

PUBLISHED IN 1666 (AntiChrist's number)
The book is illustrated with nine engravings that, when properly interpreted and combined with the original text, are said to summon the Devil and open the entrance to the Underworld. Published in 1666, it was adapted by its Venetian author, Aristide Torchia, from a legendary book written by Satan himself, a transgression for which the Holy Inquisition burned Torchia at the stake.

Rev. 13:18 Wisdom is needed to understand this. Let the one who has understanding solve the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. His number is 666.

SATAN'S BIBLE IS AN EVIL TRINITY (3 books form one)
Three copies of The Nine Gates survived -all the same except for the engravings. Balkan pretends that something is wrong with his edition; he falsely asserts that only one of the three editions is authentic. He offers Corso a hefty fee to seek out the two remaining volumes in Portugal and France and compare them against his. Corso who believes in cash, not the devil, accepts the job.

The satanic trinity. Rev. 20:10 Then the Devil, who betrayed them, was thrown into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur, joining the beast and the false prophet. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

SATAN'S PATH IS LITTERED WITH LIES, DEATH AND THE GREAT WHORE
Corso's first stop is Toledo, Spain, where the Telfer edition was purchased from the bookbinders/dealers the Ceniza brothers (José López Rodero). The two chatty brothers are a fountain of information about The Nine Gates and the paths it has traveled over three centuries. They tell the skeptical Corso that Aristide Torchia collaborated on the book with Satan himself, and also reveal that Liana Telfer (Lena Olin -as the Great Whore pictured above) badgered her indifferent husband into buying it for her.
And, though Telfer's beautiful French-born widow Liana initially expresses only mild surprise regarding her husband's sale of The Nine Gates, she soon has a change of heart and becomes ferociously determined to regain the book.

Rev. 17:3 So the angel took me in spirit into the wilderness. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that had seven heads and ten horns, written all over with blasphemies against God.

SATAN'S SIGNATURE
Insisting on the book's authenticity, the brothers point out a significant detail in one of its nine engravings: it is signed "LCF," which they claim stands for "Lucifer." Outside the store, Corso has an encounter with some metal scaffolding that corresponds quite eerily to the message of that same engraving.

Isaiah 14:12 (KJV) How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

ENGRAVINGS ARE PROPHETIC
Corso stashes The Nine Gates with his friend Bernie (James Russo), a rare book dealer. The book is safe at Bernie's shop, but Bernie himself is not: when Corso goes to retrieve the volume, he discovers his friend hanging upside down in a pose identical to an engraved illustration in The Nine Gates (see photo above). The stunned Corso calls Balkan to quit, but the collector exponentially ups the financial ante. At the same time, Corso's curiosity is aroused when he hears flight announcements emanating from his client's undisclosed location. It seems Balkan is on his way to Europe, as well.

1 Cor. 13:2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing.

A DEMON AS A BLOND GUARDIAN ANGEL
With The Nine Gates in his possession, Corso soon finds himself at the center of strange and violent goings-on. Not only is his apartment ransacked, it appears that he is being shadowed by the striking, mysterious blond Girl (Emmanuelle Seigner -in above bottom two photos) whom he first noticed at a lecture on witches given by Balkan -the subliminial connection here is that she is an agent of Satan, disguised as an angel of light. Though Corso remains leery of the Girl, he accepts her as a kind of guardian angel.

2 Cor. 11:14 But I am not surprised! Even Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light.

THE SECOND BOOK FOUND SURROUNDED BY FIRE AND DEATH
The Girl is playfully evasive but seems to know a great deal about The Nine Gates and the people pursuing it. It is the Girl who tells Corso to go to Fargas' estate, where he finds Victor Fargas (Jack Taylor) lying dead in a pond, and his copy of The Nine Gates smoldering in the fireplace, robbed of its engravings. Balkan, who had phoned Corso instructing him to get him Fargas's edition by any means necessary, is far more upset about the missing engravings than their owner's death.

1 Peter 5:8 Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour.

SATAN IS THE SILVER SERPENT OF OLD
Paris is the home of the wheelchair-bound Baroness Kessler (Barbara Jefford -see photo series above), owner of the third and final copy of The Nine Gates. The Baroness, an acknowledged authority on the devil, recounts some of the book's history, noting that a secret society called the Order of the Silver Serpent was formed to perpetuate the teachings of The Nine Gates. Kessler herself quit the society in disgust as decadent millionaires like Liana Telfer took over the leadership. The Baroness harbors no fondness for Boris Balkan, either. Learning of Corso's business affiliation with Balkan, she kicks him out of her office before he can study her edition.

Balkan continues to monitor his employee by phone. He orders Corso to revisit Baroness Kessler, darkly invoking an "at all costs" philosophy. Corso manages to wangle his way back into the Baroness's office, unwittingly sealing her macabre fate. When Kessler's wheelchair crashes into a raging fire, Corso discovers too late that the engravings from her book have also been stolen.

Rev. 12:9 This great dragon-the ancient serpent called the Devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world-was thrown down to the earth with all his angels.

SATANISTS ARE JUST A SOCIAL WANNABE CLUB
By now, Corso is as obsessed as his client with The Nine Gates, which has been snatched from its hiding place by Liana Telfer and her bodyguard. With the Girl's help, Corso pursues Liana to her family's enormous chateau in the French countryside, where the annual meeting of the Society of the Silver Serpent is about to commence. But Boris Balkan is also on Liana's trail; like Corso, he is hell-bent on getting his hands on those nine original engravings signed by Lucifer. Bursting in on the black-robed assembly of jaded thrill-seekers, Balkan denounces Liana and her ridiculous coven, proclaiming that only he is fit to receive Satan's favors. With the Girl physically restraining him, Corso can only look on helplessly as Balkan strangles Liana to death and strides out of the chateau with The Nine Gates and its invaluable engravings.

2 Tim. 2:26 Then they will come to their senses and escape from the Devil's trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants.

RECIEVEING SATAN AS LORD AND SAVIOR
Corso, however, is not about to let his chance at immortality slip away. Driving, hitching rides and walking, he makes his way to Balkan's ancient stone castle, where the publisher is preparing to deliver his soul to the devil. The two men battle for control of The Nine Gates, but neither one knows that the set of engravings contains one forgery, rendering any attempt to pass through the ninth gate doomed. Ultimately it is the Girl, revealed at last as an agent of the devil, who decides whether the secrets of The Nine Gates will be unlocked - and to whom. Balkan goes up in flames, of course, and Corso has intercourse with his demon girl friend and is permitted to enter into Satan's kingdom.

2 Cor. 4:4 Satan, the god of this evil world, has blinded the minds of those who don't believe, so they are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News that is shining upon them. They don't understand the message we preach about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.

Closing thought: Satan brought death to several people in the film. He does indeed have the power of death. There is a little known verse in the Bible that tells how Jesus' resurrection from the dead broke the power of Satan: Hebrews 2:14 -Because God's children are human beings-made of flesh and blood-Jesus also became flesh and blood by being born in human form. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the Devil, who had the power of death.

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Bulletin Board :

THE GIRL IS THE KEY
Subject: Ninth_Gate
Date: Thu, 11 Oct 2001
From: Jörgen

The Girl is the key to solving this puzzle. (See f.e. "The Devil In Love" by Jacques Cazotte, 1772)

And who's to say that the Lord of Darkness represents evil? In the Judeo-Christian belief system Adam and Eve was living their days in paradise, in total bliss but also in total ignorance and stupidity, oblivious to the world surrounding them. Without free will. Enter the "Dark" Lord, in the form of a snake. He gave them knowledge. He gave them Illumination. And above all, he gave them free will. The so called "good" god saw this and cast them out of paradise, much like a angry little child taking his ball and going home, leaving the other children wondering what just happened.

Isn't there something wrong with this picture?

Why would the good "guy" want his own creation to live all their days in ignorance? To not be able to think for themselves? To not see the world for what is was? It sounds like a rather cruel and selfish creator to me. Not at all like the warm and loving, bearded nice old man they want us to picture it. Certainly a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, to quote W. Churchill.

So for that reason (and several others) I think that Corso, when entering the Ninth Gate, was finally granted a place in paradise, forever lifting his veil of Darkness that has been placed over the eyes of mankind since the day the so called god of "light" was throwing mankind out of paradise. And not just granted a place in paradise, but becoming One with the real God.

I think the film itself is a bit clumsy here and there. The acting is not that great, the symbolism is convoluted at places, but overall I think it's rather nicely done. The message is true with a warm and happy ending. Quite different from the way most people react to it, I guess, by looking at the comments here. But that's the nice thing - living in a world where people *are* allowed, and able, to think for themselves...
Jorgen
"Scire tacere

QUITE PROFOUND
Date: Tue, 24 Jul 2001
From: Marty

First, I want to say I really enjoyed your excellent site! This was the only site on this film that contained any intelligent information (from yourself and from the other posters). I think this movie was quite profound. I think it is important to note that Lucifer basically rejected the man who murdered for immortality and power, as well as the woman seeking orgiastic rituals. Instead he chose the more "average sinner". I think that Corso is closer to each of us than the other two seekers. It is all those "little sins" that add up (ripping people off, etc.). Also, unlike Balkan, who thinks that using the engravings is the solution, Corso actually passes through The Gates physically. The occult often entices people with hidden doors, symbols and secret meanings. Corso's change from normal jerk to the Chosen One happens so gradually that most viewers seem to not notice it (the way change happens in us all). Lastly, I found the girl to be very scary and unnerving, especially in those shots where she seemed to be looking into Corso's soul like a huntress.

PSYOPS
Subject: Ninth_Gate
Date: Mon, 11 Jun 2001
From: Marty

I have not seen the movie and will not. But here's my thoughts on what I have read and seen. Satan is indeed the master deceiver and is in the business of "disinformation". By sending up enough false ideas and stories about Hell, himself and God he is able to dupe the unsuspecting into thinking that he just may have some "light" for them. Polanski is just continuing the theme he started in my generation with Rosemary's Baby. He is just cashing in on the Devil. Much like iD software, who's former office was in an all black building on the 6th floor and the office number was 666 (they made Quake, the game).
Marty

FURTHER ASNALYSIS
Date: Sun, 25 Mar 2001
From: Rob Klotz rklotz@ku.edu

Like some others who've posted here, I was looking for some further analysis of Roman Polanski's 2000 film The Ninth Gate. It is a movie that I watched on vcr, immediately rewound and watched again. My second viewing, interestingly, finished right as the sun was rising around six this morning.

I see there is some discussion about Dean Corso having or lacking free will as he goe through the eight gates. Is there a smoking gun moment when Corso goes from small time book hack to evil mastermind? No, there isn't and can't be. Polanski, daring to make a European-styled film for American consumption, would never be so obvious as to spoon feed his thoughts. He does, however, set up a series of signposts that you might miss on first viewing. There are also some strange symbols that I've yet to understand, like the bulldog outside the Parisian Baronness' burning apartment.

Two symbols that signal turning points are shoes and glass. Think a moment on how many times there was broken glass in the film: when Corso is beaten along the Seine and the spirit-girl saves him and he steps on his own eyeglasses; in the Baroness' apartment there is broken glass on the floor; searching behind the minibar in his Paris hotel room for the stolen book; the window at the chateau when Corso and the girl enter the second floor window; and the final step is when the Girl leaves the note under with windshield at the Shell station. The message all theses symbols send collectively is that Corso is breaking through to a new clarity of understanding of the universe and his role in it. He wears the broken glasses for awhile, then inexplicably finds another pair (with horn-rims, get it?).

Instead of having one defining moment of becoming the chosen one of Lucifer, Corso starts out evil by lacking purpose to his expoitation of other people. He eats frozen dinners, enjoys retail cocktails, and apparently does nothing for fun (his apartment is sterile except for books and a small PC). Each time he passes through another gate he is incrementally changing into the chosen one of the devil.

Then there's the shoes. Corso commits murder with a shoe in the dungeon of the chateau. The shoe, presumably, is from the black man whom he'd ripped a shoe off of earlier after he was attacked along the Seine. When Corso kills the black man, in case you missed all his other deliberate steps through the gates, he finally arrives before the ninth gate. The girl says "I didn't think you had it in you." Similarly, Boris Balkan commits murder when he kills Liana Telfer. Both men are ready to try the ninth gate at the same time. But only one can enter.

Perhaps in a sexually liberated age such as this one, having lust in one's heart is not considered as heinous a transgression against Jehovah as murder, avarice, theft, etcetera (see http://www.deadlysins.com/sins.htm for reference). But it is, and Corso's final test is when his burning lust for the Girl as the wood inside the castle burns. Watching the sex scene is slow motion is instructive (not to mention titillating and erotic). The face of the Girl morphs in waves from the Girl to Liana to the Girl to Liana to the Girl and so on until the final image of her orgasm her eyes radiate evil.

Corso has thus earned his entry into the ninth gate. Like a good film it doesn't give an explicit answer as to what exactly is beyond the ninth gate. But like "2001 A Space Odyssey" the film is better off with mystery at the end. If the Devil is to be acknowledged as a real supernatural force, then, like any other belief system (religion for instance), it has to have depth in mystery and ostensible ambiguity that only through vigorous study and insight can one slowly discern its revelations.

Seven steps to Heaven; Nine Gates to Hell.

Please share your thought here or in an email to rklotz@ku.edu

Thank you for reading. Klotz
PS -- These comments may be posted on your site. Thanks, David.)
Rob Klotz rklotz@ku.edu

AGENTS OF SATAN
Date: Sat, 27 Jan 2001
From: "Guru"

After looking into the Whore of Babylon, I believe that it was the blond girl, not the Telfer woman. Her face in the engraving for one thing, but at the point that she had sex with Corso, she was cementing his allegiance to Satan. The Whore fornicated with the kings of earth and heaven in an attempt to control them. Corso was at a point where he had all the power to destroy the engravings and she anchored him to the side of Satan. Telfer is more represented by the eigth card where the message is that virtue is conquered. Her chateau is a house of debauchery and at her mansion Corso for the first time actually does bad things, the least of which is letting her be killed. The Girl turns to him and says "I didn't know you had it in you". The Telfer woman was a competitor for the powers of Satan, not his accomplice.

The agents of Satan are everywhere in the movie. Even the Baroness's secretary is depicted in one of the engravings holding a club. This explains her watching Corso peculiarly as he left the first time. Perhaps it was she who knocked him out, but under the direction of a higher power possibly invoked by Balkan.

NINTH GATE REACTION
Subject: movie reaction, just saw it on vcr
Date: Sun, 12 Nov 2000
From: Silverseal

I believe that The Girl and the twins were agents of Satan helping Corso as he unwittingly followed the path as laid out by the engravings. Corso was a true believer and was selected to enter the house of the devil at the end. The symbolism of the woman riding the serpent as relating to the sexual encounter suggested to me that Corso was chosen to rule with Satan as some sort of co-ruler - Corso was the serpent. I loved it when the twins were talking about how the book was not a fake, that only master forgers could possibly fake that book. I think that is exactly what they did. Great movie.

DISAPPOINTED
Subject: Please do not post my addy...
Date: Thu, 2 Nov 2000
From: dm

I wanted to get THAT out of the way first.

Now on to the movie. I've read your review and some of the letters posted. Tell you the truth I was quite dissapointed in the film. It didn't show what happened to Corso when he went into the Hell-Gate. I really would've liked to see the interpretation they would've had for it. Being somewhat of an expert on Hell and it's ways, I can tell you this much about "The Girl". Yes, she was a Dark Angel from that realm sent by Lucifer/Satan to protect this chosen mortal Corso. She was not "The Great Whore" as our islamic freind stated....what she did in that movie comes very close to the customs of Hell. She protected him but she also had an erotic desire for him as seen by her placing her own blood on his forhead and later reveling by intercourse the death of that other idiot. I call him that because he should've known better if he actually knew what he was doing. As for the others in the film....typical human behavior. May you find what you are looking for.

SATAN'S NEW RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD
Subject: No Address posted please -
Date: Mon, 23 Oct 2000
From: Kauth

I watched the movie, my attention was held, I thought I knew what was going on until the last several minutes - Girlfriend was always dangerous with her ways... so I thought she was using our book finder to CREATE 'the devil' incarnate - and was satisfied with that - until the end scenes which had little relationship to the story I thought was being told. I thought he wanted the 9 engravings to DESTROY them, not practice their ritual - I thought that girlfriends face in the night sky at the 'castle' was an indication of her 'godly' assignment - I thought the transition in her while having intercourse was related to a create and redeem concept - rebirth 'Satan', and bring him to an new equity with godliness/ a new relationship with God - According to these, and other reviews/summarys - my watching of the Nine Gates differed from the many. Interesting to me that once again, being female, and 'powerful' was once again equated with being a Witch/B_ tch . Oh Well.....

Response: Yea, i think you might be on to something here. -David

AN ISLAMIC VIEW OF THE NINTH GATE
Date: Fri, 04 Aug 2000
From: Kamal

You made a couple of factual errors. But first just a bit of horn blowing. So far I'm reading a few of your reviews, and they better quality than the standard "christian film review" fare. Your reviews are not particularly preachy or self righteous or morally squeamish. I believe in right and wrong, morality and immorality, but frankly if I wanted to hear an adult man whine about the inevitable moral decrepitude inherent in ALL cinema (from the very beginnings too, old pre censor days movies from the early 20th century were often quite racy, even by today's standards) I'd turn on the 700 club, if I want to read an intelligent film review from someone with a coherent moral position, however, hopefully I'll turn to your site.

You maintain a religious edge to most of your reviews but it is not overburdenly so, this allows those of us who are not Christans to enjoy your reviews a bit more. So kudos.

Now on to the movie itself Emmanuelle Seigner's character, the female demon of sorts, she was actually the "great whore" not the character "Liana Telfer", which you indicate. As if the last few scenes of the movie when she seduces Depp's character (literally) did not give it away, the astute viewer will note that the final page, the real 9th page, that Curso finds in the brother's shop at the end of the movie, the harlot sitting on top of the beast has Emmanuelle Seigner's face on it... Which disappointed me a bit because my original hope was that she would turn out to be some sort of good guy, oh well... So if she was the harlot riding the beast in the engraving, and keep in mind that each engraving had a direct correspondence to some aspect of the plot, though veiled in symbol and allegory, the question rises to one, well just who was she "riding" a couple of scenes earlier on the grass outside the castle.

Not to be crude or anything, but I think that Polanski left some aspects of the story up in the air but the story as a whole is like a tapestry when one fits everything together. I found it interesting, though a bit crude.

There was a definite humor to the movie, it had a sort of dark comedy edge to it. The evil of Corso's character is of a profoundly different nature than that of any of the other characters. He is simply just bankrupt and empty. But again the harlot rides the beast in the engraving, in the "real life" of the movie she "rides" Depp's character (again, not trying to be crude here at all). Perhaps this is implying that Depp himself is or will be the 'beast' in a sense, in this movie's world ?

One effective thing was to keep matters from becoming as blatantly supernatural as possible, most of the movie's events can be explained away by people in the matrix of the movie itself, the viewer has a privileged position and can see openings of the supernatural, such as the blond girl (Emmanuelle Seigner) appearing to fly or float, or to shape shift. It happens so fast and in so ambiguous of a way that the viewer does not quite know what is going on, which is effective. Perhaps it is not Polanski's best work, but it does provide some food for thought.

I see that you have viewpoints from Catholics and one pseudo-"satanist" on the site, so perhaps I would be remiss if I did not give an alternative perspective as well, an Islamic one. Like Christianity, Zorasterianism, and Judaism, Islam is deeply concerned about the problem of evil and the entity know in the bible, and in our scriptures, as "shaitan" the accursed. One of the frequent concerns of Muslims is that, from our perspective, it appears that Christians elevate this being to an almost divine status, making him the "god of the world" or the "god of darkness". To a Muslim this is blasphemy since the foundation of Islam is complete monotheism, not on a superficial level but more profoundly that the ONLY power, and might, and force, that exists is God (Allah in arabic, Eloh in Aramaic, the spoken language of Jesus).

In the Islamic view shaitan is a slave of Allah's, free to rebel against Allah but ultimately the devil can not do anything unless God wills to allow it to occur. The Muslim view is closely mirrored in the book of Job (interestingly enough, as a piece of trivia, the hebrew in the book of Job is a particularly archaic form, and contains a lot of Older Arabic words, the names of some of Job's companions are also arabic). The devil apes God, the devil imitates God but truly has no power whatsoever.

To Muslims the emphasis placed on the devil in Western cultures is very strange and disturbing, beyond just movies and pop songs, even preachers in some Churches talk over and over again about the devil. This causes the people to fear the devil which in Islam can sometimes be almost equivalent to non belief or infidelity since if a person fears the devil then logically they must believe that the devil has power to affect them somehow, to harm them, when only God has any power and only God, Allah, should be feared.

The devil can influence mislead, yes seduce, and misguide, and some of shaitan's agents can produce physical effects in this World, but it is all only through Allah's permission just as I can will to blow out a candle but in reality it was not I inhaling wind and my loungs pushing it out in the direction of the candle that allows the candle to be blown out, rather it is that Allah allowed me to blow out the candle, if he had so willed I could have been prevented from blowing out the candle. So to the devil is not strong, his strength is in illusion, in smoke, veiled reality, suggestion, making the unimportant and trivial seem important. In reality most of humanity is so divorced from God and God's will that the willingly do the "devil's work" with very little prompting whatsoever, without even realizing it.

If one trains and conditions a man's mind to do certain things and accept certain ways as good that person will eventually need very little reinforcement. So we see that we live in perhaps the most wretched society on the earth, with murder endemic to our condition, our comfort sustained by the consuming and payment of usury (prohibited by the bible until Calvin allowed it), with legions of the poor in debt selling their bodies and souls for money, in which abortion is used as a matter of convenience, and in which nowadays even 11 year olds whore themselves out, a society of wealth (much like Rome, or indeed Babylon) that maintains comfort but is gotten from the conquest and exploitation of others.

In spite of massive structural flaws we still have the illusion that our society is the greatest that has ever been. We are given much but when you peel up the veneer and look beneath the surface you see that underneath the gilding there is rot, and that rot is indeed ancient. In spite of this we fail to see our own conditions. This is due to a wonderful sort of magic and illusion, very strong but inshallah (God willing) not too hard to break. The point is that it is all illusion, and Islam sees this as being most important, that the devil, and its tricks and effects are illusion, and illusions can be broken.

So the point is not to FEAR freddy kruger, or Jason, or any of the current architypes in which the devil may pop up in the mind and heart of contemporary man because to fear a thing is to lend it power in one's heart that it does not even have. Shaitan is weak, its just that too often we are often weaker still in our will and resolve. Shaitan to the Muslims is nothing more than Mankind's sworn enemy and a test of man's attachment and devotion to Allah. Shaitan's hatred of man leads him to try to tempt and misguide man but his "powers" are in reality only but illusion.

As to the gentleman who was formerly involved in the occult, yes books like the fictional one in the movie do exist, the so-called "Keys of Solomon", the galderbook, the Magus, etc., etc. In general they are probably about 80% gobbly gook and nonsense. If there is anything dangerous in them it is leading a person's fantasies astray away from the path of truth and in inciting his or her greed for power. The occult can seem to produce some effects through the actions of various agents and "powers", but this is mostly just illusion. Where there is serious harm coming from magic and the like one should avoid involvement in such matters and seek refuge from God in prayer. The "powers" that do seem to come from the occult may have a strange way of returning to the person foolhardy enough to seek them...

The hidden demonic powers (ifreets) that some occultists either knowingly or unknowingly try to tap are contemptuous of man and desire nothing other than man's ruin. Most of what is passed off as the occult is probably just smoke and mirrors, and God knows best. But there is danger even in this, in that in uttering garbage one may willingly turn his or her back on God. So even what appears to be harmless is not so. In some parts of the world magicians are able to produce wondrous effects, they are able to stab themselves with real swords, the "darb shish" and skewer themselves without harm to themselves, they can lift heavy objects such as stones, a friend of mine actually saw such with his own eyes in Indonesia. Of course God's chosen can on occasion display certain miraculous effects as well through Allah's power.

Even things such as being penetrated with an iron blade. The difference being that the miraculous deeds of an infidel or a magicians will misguide one, but God may choose to let one of his elect display a miracle for the benefit of the people, perhaps to demonstrate to a non believer that God's power extends beyond his understanding, for example. The modern world has perhaps the most profoundly disturbing and effective magic ever known to man ! It is called the Cinema, and TV. Through it one can make a person believe whatever one wants, clothe truth in falsehood and falsehood in truth. Make wars seem just, paint the oppressed as oppressors, and the oppressors as the oppressed. It is quite a strange set of instruments, do you not agree :-)

In any case I hope that someone finds this perspective thought provoking or useful, the Muslims have a prayer that is simple "God show us truth as truth and grant us to follow it, show us illusion and falsehood as illusion and falsehood and grant us to avoid it" perhaps a prayer such as this might be useful to those caught up in the grand illusions of the cinema, or of everyday life.
Sincerely Kamal.

Response: I can not thank you enough for the Islamic insight. May I invite you to present your views on other films as well. May God less you Kamal.

THOUGHT PROVOKING
Subject: Thought Provoking
Date: Mon, 8 May 2000
From: "Mike Furches"

Johnny Depp continues on in his strange typecast character roles. His character acting is one of the attributes of this film that almost makes it worth watching. Depp who has played in such roles as Edward Scissors Hands, and the wonderful little film, Benny and June among others has come to be known for the odd ball characters he has played and the disturbing off film life he leads.

Dean Coroso in The Ninth Gate could possibly be the most complex character that Depp has played and as disturbing as the film is, he plays the part quite well. As a matter of fact each of the actors in the film do a very good job, kudos to the Casting Director.

This is a film that many Christians will see and be quite disturbed about. To be honest, so was I, even though I came out of a background that involved the Occult. One of the attributes of this film besides its acting was the research that was done. The Ninth Gate portrays the Occult in a real light and with accurate portrayals. It also speaks at how easily Satan uses each individuals weaknesses to gradually take over their souls which will lead to ultimate death. This is also portrayed extremely well throughout the film as Coroso gets drawn further and further into the trappings of Satan. Numerous times through the film, we the viewer are saying to ourselves, "quit", "get out leave this stuff behind." Coroso has a love for money and curiosity however that continues to draw him further and further into danger and away from any real life.

While the film is made with a great deal of artistic integrity it is disturbing that there are no positive characters portrayed in the movie. The only character that could be perceived as a positive influence is later discovered to be nothing more than a demon drawing Coroso further into his ultimate spiritual death. Not including a positive character role leaves the viewer with little or no hope at the conclusion of the film. It is almost as if Coroso went down the only path he had available when in reality we have a choice. I would hope that the viewer, would realize that there is a ultimate hope, Jesus Christ.

While the aspects of the film involving the Occult are fairly accurate they are only partially accurate. We as true followers of Christ know that victory over Satan was won at the resurrection. The growth of the Christian Church, Christianity and the miraculous life changing events of the lives of those who once followed Satan are evidence to this. Just think about the influence of Jesus the next time you put a date on a check or any other item.

Many Christians or individuals watching this film may look at the Occult as a primary method of drawing persons to Satan, I would caution to be careful of this view. It is not Satan's goal to have everyone worshipping him out right. It is only his goal to draw them away from Christ, it is then that he has succeeded. The Ninth Gate should not be seen as the way Satan draws people to him. It should be seen as a way that some may be drawn to him as well as the ultimate death and deception that he brings. I would certainly caution many from viewing the film and will openly admit that the film is at times boring and difficult to understand. It does have a few twists and plots but frankly I did not leave the film with any positive thoughts or reflections. While this film deals with the dark side of our faith I would encourage viewers who are not Christians to also watch the film Tribulation with Gary Busy, a good ol Tulsa boy by the way, Margot Kidder and Howie Mandel. This film deals with the same types of battles but personally I like the ending much more in the film Tribulation. I will say that both conclusions in both films are true and accurate in their own way. It is up to the viewers as to which path they choose.
On a scale of 1-10 a good ol lukewarm 5.
Mike Furches mike@furches.org
http://homepages.infoseek.com/~furches/index.html

SATANIST EXPLANS NINTH GATE
Subject: The Satanic View of Ninth_Gate
Date: Tue, 28 Mar 2000
From: (IAN SCHARAGA)

To Whom it may Concern: I have just seen this excellent film. U all got it wrong. Satan or Lucifer (the Greek God of Light) is the Light Depp founds at the conclusion. It is he who was truly chosen to ascend to Godhood. Unlike Balkin, who was in error - Corso (guided by the grace of Satan) truly found Equality w/ God (the aim of a true Satanist). If you shudder and cringe at my "blashphemy" then it is no concern of mine. Satan was condemned to the Abyss of Ignorance (hence the significance of Black in satanic symbolism) his light hidden in the feeble humility of Xtian ignorance. Try to pray it away, but truth and reason, not faith. is the path of progress. Remain in the Flock, but I will not obey the steering of the Sheperds crook. The Children of Lucifer think for themselves.
Shemhamforash-Hail Satan!
Ian Scharaga Behemoth-Hand of Glory

Response: I can not thank you enough for your insight. Thank you. And welcome aboard. I'd be interested in more of your points of view. -David

A SIGN OF THE END
Subject: Ninth Gate
Date: Sat, 1 Apr 2000
From: "Jose"

I didn't exactly realize that Johnny Depp's character had become obsessed right away. I saw him as being more of a benevolent protagonist who was looking out for good's sake by retrieving the inscriptions. Eventually I realized his obsession. I feel that the statement that this movie is making is that we are now entering the final chapter or book; revelation. It makes satan out to be benevolent, and makes Depp's journey into Hell a glorious one, implying that the world will live out revelations prophecy.

EXCELLENT SCREENPLAY -DISTURBING PLOT
Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2000 22:36:36 GMT
From: Whitney

I am so pleased to find out that I can give my opinion about this movie! First of all, there was one particular scene that was completely unneccessary. (the one in front of the castle) But to honest, I thought that if this movie had a different plot rather than such a sadistic one, it would have gotten higher reviews. I personally feel that this was a wonderful movie. It was well written and was interesting. Bottom line: Excellent screenplay~disturbing plot.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON NINTH GATE
Subject: Comment on your Final Thoughts
Date: Sat, 18 Mar 2000
From: Twins

I don't mean to be offensive or rude in saying this, but it just seems to say that Satan killed a lot of people because he has power over death.

DEPP'S CHARACTER IS PORTRAYAL OF BEING LUKEWARM FOR GOD
Subject: -Lukewarm.
Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2000
From: "alice richmond"

"I know all things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, I will spit you out of my mouth!" Revelation 3:15,16 Johnny Depp's portrayal of "lukewarm" is a real warning to those that sit on the fence. You must choose whom you shall serve, be it dark or light. Because of his status as "free agent" in the spiritual realm, he was easily seduced into the dark side. Not much different than the way it actually happens outside of the theater. Reach for the Light! As for the movie, I wouldn't have missed much by not seeing it. I left the theater wanting to have a drink. There was so much consumption of alcohol and my being an alcoholic in recovery received some sort of mental suggestion because of it. There should be a warning "Movie may cause a desire to get drunk!" I think I'll go see "MY DOG SKIP" next. Alice

PLEASANTLY SURPRISED WITH HOLLYWOOD JESUS
Subject: Hollywood Jesus
Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2000
From: Jean

I came upon your site when looking for a movie review on The Ninth Gate. I was immediatley skeptical when I saw the name of your site. As a former Catholic my religious beliefs are up in the air and I am often irritated at the judgement passed on modern society and culture by Christians. I was pleasantly surprised to read comments that actually concentrated on the positive and educational merits of several films and albums that I assumed would be shot down. You are an incredible role model for Christians who would like to spread God's true message which is love, acceptance, self improvement and knowledge of what humans right now are going through instead of antiquated images of perfection which no one can accheive. You are doing a good thing. Jean
Response: Thank you I always appreciate a kind word -David.

LEAVES SO MUCH UNANSWERED
Subject: ninth gate review
Date: Sun, 12 Mar 2000
From: Jose

the movie was enthralling and the acting was solid i must say however the change in our hero i sudden and unexplained. he goes from ruthless book dealer to wanting to raise satan. the movie does not adequately address this change secondly the ending is horrible leaves everything in the air and the ninja demon chick is not fully explained. maybe my need for a nice finale is killing this movie for me but it leaves too much unanswered i would like to see the directors cut or maybe an original script. to tidy this up a bit the movie blew.
Response:The ending is, basically is -the Devil got his man! -David.

NOT TYPICAL HOLLYWOOD
Subject: Ninth Gate summary
Date: Sun, 12 Mar 2000
From: Steve

I recently saw The ninth Gate and it is not a typical Hollywood movie by any stretch of the imagination. I think one will finally realise that no one chooses the Devil, he chooses you and watch out if he does. Certain things upon reflection made me realise that the female bodyguard was not only a demon but was also the one that chose Depp. she also marked him with her blood a form of baptism. The devil is man's worst enemy but we are completely infatuated with him. It is this infatuation that caused almost everyone in the movie to die. but who killed them? with the exception of olin everyone else died by strange circumstances. Of course everyone thinks its Balkan (Langella) but i believe it was the girl, leading depp to the ultimate prize. I am a christian and enjoy church on sundays.
Response: I think you may be right? I wonder what others think -David.

POLANSKI IS A ZEUS
Date: Sun, 12 Mar 2000
From: Raffi

Very rare movie Roman Polanski is a zeus. One can learn a lot from his movies and think, we should see more of this type of movies it is very intresting story and well directed
Response: Polanski is a legend for goo d reason. I always look forward to his films -David.

A MOVIE THAT STAYS WITH YOU
Date: Sat, 11 Mar 2000
From: Goethe

I found the movie psychological and esoteric. It seems to be more than a first impression. Yet one can never quite be sure.... This is a movie that stays with you, going deep into the subconscious. I recommend it to my friends. It is not a movie to be watched if you are looking for light entertainment or an escape. ~T (please do not print my address) When all is said and done, one knows what one knows only for oneself. ~Goethe
Response: You are right. This is not a light movie experience. -David.

NINTH GATE TYPE TEXTS DO EXIST
Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2000
From: Gene

Dear Sirs,
As a former occultist, I would like to comment on what little I know of the film "The Ninth Gate". Such texts and tomes DO exist. Eventually, if you are unfortunate enough to obtain one, you do not own the book, the book owns you.
After the film opens, if you like, I will send in a review of its accurracy.
Jesus is Lord.
Gene
My response: Yes, please send me your thoughts