When it was released in 1999, The Ninth Gate really didn't do well at the till, nor did it give critics much of a thrill, but I, like many who enjoyed reading Arturo Perez-Reverte's The Club Dumas (originally published Madrid: Alfaguara Hispanica,1993), ventured out to see this film with a visibly evanescent hope that it might capture something of the novel's flair.
Dealing with books as it does, I had thought that there would at least be qualities of production design that would be of interest to the eye, and here it didn't disappoint; and with Roman Polanski and Johnny Depp one could be assured of something dramatically skewed, ever so slightly, like a cocked spine on an old Chandler first. The screenplay(s), however, dropped much of the book's material which was par for the cinematic course. Film is film.
Having not seen the film since its initial outing, I look forward to the recent DVD release and hope it has extras of interest. Perhaps it would be good to reread the book, though it can be a dicey affair to try and recapture that dizzily reserved feeling of a first reading. But one can try.