Anticipation has been great for this film, which has been slated for release in the United States in a busy season for horror and occult films.
Polanski, of course, is known to horror fans as the genius behind "Rosemary's Baby," arguably the greatest fear film ever made. His "Ninth Gate" doesn't even come close to the majesty of that film, or even "Repulsion," but it is a fine movie.
Depp plays an expert on rare books who is hired by a wealthy collector (Frank Langella) to verify the authenticity of a satanic text he acquired entitled "The Ninth Gate." Two other copies of the text exist in the world and Depp is sent out to compare Langella's copy with those two. The film is quite similar to John Huston's "The Maltese Falcon," with Depp thrust in the role of a Malone-like character sent to search for a mystical artifact that everyone seems to understand the value of except him.
Thugs are sent after him to see if he has a copy of the book. Eventually his investigation leads to a satanic cult. Along the way, he continues running into a beautiful stranger (Seigner) who happens to be a martial arts expert and helps him fight his way out of difficult situations. She never fully explains who she is.
Much of the story is unbelievable and Depp is terribly miscast as a book expert. He doesn't look like a nerd, despite the fake glasses he's forced to wear. But the film delivers plenty of atmosphere and Langella is fantastic as the obsessed rich guy hoping to unlock the gates of hell.