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The Ninth Gate (1999): When Bibliophiles Attack

The Ninth Gate (Roman Polanski, 1999)
[originally posted 27Mar2000]

photo credit: IMDB

“Hi, my name is Johnny. I’m the brooding hero.”

As Polanski has become increasingly reclusive and eccentric, I’ve often wondered exactly what goes through his head when he decides to film something. I’ve been wondering it more and more over the last two decades or so, as what little output Polanski has released has become increasingly humorless, bitter, and savage, culminating in the brilliantly unstable Death and the Maiden in 1994. Something seems to have happened in the past six years, however. Polanski has given us his finest, and funniest, film since The Fearless Vampire Killers—and for much the same reasons.
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