Released in 1999, THE NINTH GATE was a thriller directed by film maker Roman Polanski. It, starred Johnny Depp and was based upon the 1993 novel by Arturo Perez Revetrte entitled THE CLUB DUMAS. The films scenario revolves around a search for a rare book which supposedly contains the secret of how to summon the DEVIL. The film I thought was an interesting and absorbing tale which was directed wonderfully by Polanski with a stand-out performance from Depp and contained an atmospheric and haunting soundtrack composed by Maestro, Wojciech Kilar. The film was met with mixed reactions from both critics and audiences, with many giving it unfavourable comments saying it was not as interesting as Polanski’s other supernatural thriller ROSEMARYS BABY. However, the film and the score have in recent years become regarded as quality items with the film attaining a cult status. Kilar’s wonderfully operatic and beautifully macabre sounding score is in my opinion one of the composers most accomplished, and that is saying something with a composer such as he.
Of course Kilar was already a respected Maestro within Eastern Europe before coming to work on American movies, and it is fair to say that it is probably his equally gripping and powerful score for DRACULA that acquainted soundtrack fans in America, The UK and Europe with the composers ample talents. Polanski was said to have approached the production full of doubt as he did not believe in the Occult although admitted to being fascinated by it and stories that surrounded it.
The film also starred Frank Langella and Emmanuelle Seigner. The score by Kilar was fully symphonic and although the movie itself was set in modern time the composer opted to write a soundtrack that was classically orientated. Which was a masterful move on the part of the composer as his symphonic and grandiose instrumental flourishes support and underline the films storyline perfectly, adding a greater intensity and creating and more powerful and deeper dimension to the proceedings. Although the music is dramatic and filled with a menace and darkness, the composer still infuses his work with a richness and lavish melodic line, creating and fashioning commanding and theme laden pieces that glide and weave in and out of the at times fast paced and fearsome compositions.
I think I was loathed to review this score at the time of its release simply because I thought it was a work of immense quality, and everyone else seemed to be ignoring it, maybe because of the negative reaction the film was receiving, however, here is my review of sorts, well not a review but maybe just a hint of a review, but in reality it’s a recommendation that if you have not heard the score to check it out, it is available on I tunes and Spotify and I thin one can still purchase copies of the CD release online. Let us say you will not be disappointed in any way or form. This is in my opinion a classic from a Master Maestro, who is sorely missed in the world of film music today.