Director: Roman Polanski
It's one hell of a pitch: Johnny Depp, in his prime, acting in a Roman Polanski-directed film about Satanism. That brief description alone was enough to make us care about The Ninth Gate, giving us hope that Polanski would tap into his Repulsion creepiness. Sadly, instead of a male-protagonist-driven Rosemary's Baby, what genre fans got in 1999 was an unforgivably preposterous mess that lacks any narrative direction, has no terror whatsoever, and makes little effective use of its striking sets and production values.
Apparently aware that he signed up for an inferior Polanski project, Depp gives a dull, atypically non-engaging performance as a book dealer called upon to locate a text that's said to be able to open Hell's gates. The only thing co-writer Polanski's script opens is bag full of viewer contempt.