Johnny Depp’s Triple-Canceled Movie Is Streaming For Free
A movie with Johnny Depp and two other very canceled famous Hollywood figures is streaming for free, but at what cost?
Johnny Depp seems poised for a complete career rehabilitation. After several years in the proverbial Hollywood wilderness, Disney has brought Captain Jack Sparrow back to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and he has begun production on a film in which plays one of the more terrible Kings of France. As case after legal case seems to go away for Johnny Depp, things seem to finally be going right for the famously troubled superstar. However, one of his past movies has the unique distinction of involving three different principal figures who have been canceled over the course of their careers. That movie is The Ninth Gate, a 1999 supernatural thriller starring Johnny Depp and disgraced actor Frank Langella, directed by the infamous European director Roman Polanski.
The Ninth Gate stars Johnny Depp as Dean Corso, a somewhat unscrupulous rare book dealer hired by Boris Balkan (Frank Langella), an even more unscrupulous, mysteriously wealthy collector. Frank Langella has come into possession of a mysterious book titled The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of Shadows that apparently has the power to summon Satan himself, but there is a catch (aside from the Satan thing). It seems that three copies of the book exist, and only one of them is authentic. While there seems like a lot of danger inherently built into a book that will allow the Prince of Darkness access to the mortal world, the fake books are a risk to whoever tries to use them.
Johnny Depp ends up on a tense journey through Europe to discover which of the books is real. During the course of The Ninth Gate, he slowly loses his conviction that the whole thing is a sham and begins to believe more and more in the power of occult knowledge. Along the way, he meets with the widow (legendary Swedish actress Lena Olin) of a recent owner of Frank Langella’s copy of the book and repeatedly encounters a mysterious blonde woman referred to only as The Girl (Roman Polanski’s spouse Emmanuelle Seigner). Being Johnny Depp, he naturally has sex with them both. Eventually, the movie reveals a darker and darker world of murder and Satanic rituals, and Johnny Depp’s very sanity comes into question.
The Ninth Gate is an odd tri-force of controversial figures. Over the course of decades, Johnny Depp’s very odd career transformed him from a Tiger Beat heartthrob to a Tim Burton star to critical darling of indie films to Disney clown to alleged domestic abuser to whatever he is now. Whereas Johnny Depp was once one of the most famous actors in the world for his acclaimed and popular performance as Captain Jack Sparrow (and to a lesser extent, Rango), he became far more famous for his legal battles with his estranged former spouse Amber Heard.
Co-star Frank Langella has been a celebrated star of stage, television, and film for decades. He has won four Tony Awards, been nominated for an Academy Award for the film version of Frost/Nixon, and co-starred in FX’s acclaimed Cold War drama The Americans. He also played Skeletor in Masters of the Universe, a role that he has consistently claimed for decades to be a personal favorite. Earlier in 2022, he was fired from a film adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher for allegations of misconduct; he doubled down with a notorious column in Deadline in which he proactively called himself “canceled,” seemingly as a form of both self-defense and rejection of the allegations. While it did not make headlines on a Johnny Depp-Amber Heard defamation case scale, it was a swift fall from grace for a legendary actor.
Maybe most infamously of all, director Roman Polanski went from being one of the most celebrated filmmakers of his day to a controversial figure after being accused of sexually assaulting a minor in 1977. He fled the United States during the course of his trial and has officially been a fugitive since. His career (much like Johnny Depp’s) has risen and fallen and risen again in the years since, but in many ways, his films have become a footnote to the allegations against him.
The Ninth Gate is a decent if very slow-paced neo-noir thriller that traffics in the same vaguely Satanic imagery as The Devil’s Advocate, Stigmata, and The Prophecy that came into vogue in the late 1990s. It did tolerably well at the box office and was mostly dismissed by critics as being inferior to Roman Polanski’s earlier Satanic-themed masterpiece, Rosemary’s Baby. But if you are dying to see three controversial, canceled men work together, you know where to find it.