The Ninth Gate Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

Dean Corso, an unscrupulous New York rare book dealer with questionable ethics, is hired by tycoon and millionaire Boris Balkan – an avid book collector and zealous occult scholar – to authenticate his most prized possession. When a diligent book detective flies to Europe to compare the Balkan edition with the only two remaining copies, thick mystery begins to shroud his discoveries from the start, while a mysterious woman seems to follow his every move.

According to sources, there are only three copies of this book, and in three different places. After losing a friend killed for this book, he leaves on a mission. He wants to check out Balkan’s book, but finds something else! During his dramatic travels through Paris and Madrid, too many things are revealed that exceed his expectations! Eventually, at the end of Corso’s perilous hunt for clues, the unfathomable secrets of the intricate, mystical leather-bound engravings will only be revealed to those who hold the key. However, who is worthy of her dark but glorious secrets?

The meaning of the film The Ninth Gate

Based on Arturo Pérez-Reverte’s bestselling El Club Dumas, this is a modern gothic horror story woven from the supposed power of satanic literature to conjure up the devil himself.

The Ninth Gate is a well thought out and entertaining horror film. Whereas director Roman Polanski prefers to jump through the gruesome trajectory that drags book dealer Dean Corso (Johnny Depp) to the gates of Hell, rather than embrace his protagonist’s terror, as he did with the likes of: Rosemary’s Baby (1968 ) or The Tenant (1976), Polanski develops his ground rules and adheres to them flawlessly. From the opening scene of the film’s textbook, in which Polanski’s subjective camera legibly divulges aspects of the millionaire’s library, certain death approaches, to a solid European step. The “Ninth Gate” leads the viewer on an evil descent into the bewilderment of other mundane shadows.

It captures some elements of the original book and neglects many others, but the implementation of Roman Polanski and the screenplay by Enrique Urbizu, John Brownjohn and Polanski himself makes it a piece that mixes detective story and horror in an intriguing and intelligent way.

However, the book and film share a sentiment that equates them, beyond specific betrayals, with their devotion to books as tools of fantasy and power, guile for those who might be willing to kill or sacrifice everything. In the case of Polanski’s film, of course, everything takes on the diabolical flavor that is present in the Pérez-Reverte novel, albeit with less malignant burden and more horror.

But this obsession with books, old or not, lost or not, as objects that value the indescribable power in their pages is the real connection between both works, and what makes The Ninth Gate an interesting adaptation. Polanski shoots libraries and mountains of books with pagan devotion and amuses himself with the image and sound of bibliophilic fetishism: the creaking of pages, the groans of leather when folded, airplanes and people laying out books, wrapping them in rags, moving them around, caressing their engravings, contemplating covers.

The Ninth Gate movie ending explained

After all, Balkan has killed the other book owners and he is trying to get in through the 9th gate. He fails and Corso ends up killing him to end his suffering. Corso finishes deciphering the last clue, which is a diagram of a mysterious girl. Corso passes through the ninth gate.

To fulfill the pact with the devil, all nine original authentic illustrations are needed together in order to be accepted, including passing through the gate indicated in the ninth illustration. The villain, Balkan, failed because he didn’t have the original ninth illustration.

At the end, the hero Carso, is obsessed with the same goal for himself as the Balkans. The last illustration is by him and an (unnamed) girl (devil’s servant). She later leaves him a note with the true ninth illustration. He receives it, then goes through the gate shown in the picture.

Boris did not play by the rules, being in search of material pleasure, and eventually got what he deserved in hell. Corso adhered to the rules and was able to pass through the light to God. Engravings do not tell about all the events in Corso’s journey to the light. Polanski’s depiction of the hangman is a bad plot move that misleads viewers. This is a dual story, it has two journeys and two paths. This story carries a spiritual and psychological interpretation.

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