The Ninth Gate (1999)

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A rare book buyer is hired to authentic copies of a Satanic text.


Genre

Mystery

Characters/Groups

Dean Corso - Johnny Depp

Boris Balkan - Frank Langella

Liana Telfer - Lena Olin

The Girl - Emmanuelle Seigner

Baroness Kessler - Barbara Jefford

Victor Fargas - Jack Taylor

Pablo and Pedro Ceniza - Jose Lopez Rodero

Liana's Bodyguard - Tony Amoni

Bernie - James Russo

Andrew Telfer - Willy Holt

Witkin - Allen Garfield

Old Man - Jacques Dacqmine

Old Man's Son - Joe Sheridan

Daughter-In-Law - Rebecca Pauly

Concierge - Catherine Benguigui

Secretary - Maria Ducceshi

Gruber - Jacques Collard

Desk Clerk - Dominique Pozzetto

Baker - Emmanuel Booz

Hotel Porter - Lino Ribeiro de Sousa

1st & 2nd Workmen - Jose Lopez Rodero

Cafe Owners - Bernard Richier and Marinette Richier

Character thumbnails with links to profiles

Detailed Synopsis

Andrew Telfer is writing his suicide note in his library. He finishes and puts a noose around his neck and hangs himself. In New York City, Dean Corso is looking over the collection of Old Man. He tells Old Man's Son and Daughter-In-Law that Old Man's collection is worth about $600,000. He tells them it might take a month to sell the entire collection and when he notices their reaction to how long it could take, offers to buy Old Man's four volume Ibarra edition of Don Quixote for $4000 to $4200, causing the Old Man, who is a stroke victim and unable to speak to clench his fist. As Dean is leaving he runs into Witkin as he is exiting the elevator and he brags about his buy of the Don Quixote set. He goes to Bernie's Rare Books and they make a deal to sell the Don Quixote set to a Swiss client with Bernie getting ten percent of the sale. Dean goes to the Balkan Press building to hear a lecture by Boris Balkan on Demons and Medieval Litterature. He sees The Girl staring at him and then during the lecture falls asleep. After the lecture, Balkan wakes him up and then brings him into his office. Within his office is a photo of the castle Château de Puivert. He shows Dean his collection of books, all of which revolve around the Devil. He then shows him the book, The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of Shadows from 1666 by Aristide Torchia, who was burned to death during the Inquisition along with his works. Dean mentions how three copies of Torchia's book survive owned by Baroness Kessler, Victor Fargas and and until recently, Andrew Telfer. Balkan tells Dean that he wants him to go to Europe to examine the other copies of The Nine Gates to figure out which one is the authentic copy. Balkan then gives Dean a large check to use on his travels.

Dean goes to visit Liana Telfer and asks her what she knows about The Nine Gates. She tells him she didn't know her husband sold the book and asks who the buyer was. She tells him, Andrew bought the book in Toledo, Spain. Liana shows him Andrew's library and Dean asks her if Andrew ever used the book to try and speak with the Devil. As Dean is leaving Telfer's residence, he sees Liana's Bodyguard staring at him. Dean goes to the library to research The Nine Gates and sees The Girl watching him. He returns to his apartment and finds the door ajar and the inside in disarray. Dean goes to Bernie's book store and leaves him The Nine Gates to watch over. As he is packing for his trip to Europe, Dean's doorbell rings. He lets Liana into his apartment and she makes him an offer to get The Nine Gates back from Balkan. As he brings her a drink she starts to kiss him and they have sex. After sex Liana asks where the book is and when Dean says he doesn't have it she attacks him and smashes a bottle over his head. Dean calls Bernie but gets no answer, he then goes to his store and finds Bernie dead hanging upside down from one leg in the same manner as one of The Nine Gates' engravings. He recovers The Nine Gates hidden behind a picture and then goes to the airport after calling Balkan and trying to quit after telling him Bernie had been killed while holding The Nine Gates for him.

Dean goes to P y P Restauracion de Libros to speak with Pablo and Pedro Ceniza. He shows them The Nine Gates and asks them some questions. They tell him Andrew Telfer bought the book, but it was Liana who wanted it. Dean asks them if the copy is a forgery, but they tell him it is unlikely due to the skill level involved. They then show him how six out of nine engravings are signed by Torchia, while three of them are signed LCF, Lucifer. As Dean is walking along the alley outside the shop, a scaffolding collapses almost crushing him. As he is riding a train to Portugal, he sees The Girl also on the train. He talks to her and as he does, her green eyes light up. He takes a taxi to the decaying mansion of Victor Fargas, who lets him in. Victor gives him some wine in one of the last remaining glasses he has and shows him the last books of his once great collection. Victor hands Dean his copy of The Nine Gates and mentions how even though it has traveled the world for the past three and a half centuries, it still looks like it was printed yesterday. Dean remarks that the copy he is carrying now belongs to Balkan and Victor acknowledges that Balkan will pay any amount for a book that he wants. Dean shows Victor the Balkan copy and then asks if he can inspect his copy of the book. As he is inspecting the books, Dean notices slight differences between the engravings done by Torchia and Lucifer. As he leaves Victor's house a car driven by Liana's Bodyguard barely misses hitting him. Liana's Bodyguard gets out of the car and starts to walk towards him, but gets back into his car and leaves when The Girl rides up on a motorcycle.

Dean is drinking at a hotel when he sees The Girl sitting and reading How to Win Friends and Influence People. He goes to speak with her, but they are interrupted by Hotel Porter who tells Dean he has a phone call. Dean picks up the phone and Balkan speaks to him asking for an update. Dean then has the Hotel Porter transfer the call to his room and tells Balkan about the differences between the engravings and that the ones that differ are signed LCF. Balkan tells Dean to buy the copy from Victor, but Dean tells him Victor wouldn't sell it to save his life, and Balkan hangs up. He is woken up by a knock at his door and finds The Girl on the other side, who tells him he needs to go to Victor's mansion. They get onto The Girl's motorcycle and ride to Victor's mansion where they find him dead in the pond and Victor's copy of The Nine Gates half burnt in the fire place. Dean and The Girl take a flight from Lisbon to Paris and when they arrive The Girl disappears. Dean goes to the Hotel Cayre and books a room with Gruber. He goes to the offices of Baroness Kessler and speaks to the Concierge to ask where the Baroness' office is located at. He enters her office and tells the Secretary he has an appointment. He is taken to meet Baroness Kessler who tells him about her book The Devil The History and the Myth, that she is working on. He tells her he would like to look at her copy of The Nine Gates and she tells him that the Order of the Silver Serpent which practices orgies while reading the book will be having a meeting soon. She asks him who he is working for and when she figures out he is working for Balkan, she kicks him out of her office.

As he leaves the Baroness' office he sees Liana's Bodyguard waiting outside. Dean goes inside of a cafe and has a drink and notices Liana's Bodyguard still outside. As he leaves the cafe, a car driven by Liana almost runs him over. He is then confronted by Liana's Bodyguard who tries to steal his satchel with the book. The Girl arrives and kicks Liana's Bodyguard who then escapes, but not before Dean's glasses are broken. Dean goes to the front desk and asks Gruber to find out if Liana or her Bodyguard are staying at a hotel nearby. In his room, The Girl smears her blood from her bloody nose onto his forehead. Dean gets a call from Balkan and tells him Fargas has been murdered and the engravings from his book stolen. He tells him the Baroness kicked him out before he could examine her book and Balkan tells him to go back during the Secretary's lunch break. Dean asks the Desk Clerk to use the copy machine and makes copies of the engravings from Balkan's copy of The Nine Gates. He then hides the book behind the mini fridge in his room. The next day he waits until the Secretary leaves and then asks Baroness Kessler if he can see her again and she lets him in. He gives her the copies of the engravings he made and tells her the engravings differ from her copy. She opens up her copy and Dean shows her how her engravings differ. She then allows him to study his book, and he notices a post card sent to her with the same castle as the one in Balkan's library. As he continues to study her copy, he is knocked unconscious from behind. He wakes up to the Baroness dead and her office in flames. He runs out of the building, knocking into the Secretary as she comes back from lunch.

He returns to his room and finds Balkan's copy of The Nine Gates missing. He runs downstairs and the Desk Clerk tells him his wife was in the room while he was gone. He receives a call from Balkan and tells him that the engravings were different in the Baroness' copy and then tells him that someone stole the book from him. Gruber then tells him where Liana is staying and Dean writes a message to send to Balkan. Dean and The Girl go up to Liana's room and see her luggage being removed. The Girl steals a car and they follow Liana and her Bodyguard. They end up at the St. Martin chateau after getting directions from a Baker. They sneak inside as rich people arrive in their cars. Dean takes back the book, but Liana's Bodyguard shows up and Liana pulls a gun on Dean and The Girl. Liana tells her Bodyguard to kill them in the basement, but as he is walking them down there, Dean trips him and then beats him to death with his shoe. Dean and The Girl then sneak into the meeting room where Liana is reading from The Nine Gates. Balkan shoves the doors open and calls those gathered buffoons. He then takes his book back and strangles Liana to death with her own necklace. Dean runs outside and steals a car and follows Balkan, but gets his car stuck in a river.

He goes to a cafe to eat something and get his socks dried and asks the Cafe Owners if they know where the castle from the post card is located and they give him directions. He makes his way to the castle and sees Balkan preparing a ritual. Dean pulls a gun on Balkan but Balkan wrestles it away and Dean falls into a crack in the wooden floor. Dean then watches as Balkan performs the ritual and sets himself on fire. At first Balkan claims to feel no pain but then screams in agony. Dean manages to get himself loose and grabs the engravings and shoots Balkan dead. The Girl appears to Dean and they have sex. She tells him that the ninth engraving was a forgery and when he stops to get gas, she disappears, but leaves a note telling him to see the Ceniza brothers. He goes to their shop but finds it being taken apart by 1st & 2nd Workmen, who tell them they are Pepe Lopez and Ricardo Barrera and they don't know the Ceniza brothers. As they are pulling down a shelve, a piece of paper falls down, which Dean picks up revealing it to be the original engraving of the woman riding the beast. Dean then goes back to the castle to perform the ritual.