Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
Spain/France/USA, 1999. Artisan Entertainment, , Orly Films, TF1 Films Production, Bac Films, Canal+, Kino Vision, Origen Producciones Cinematograficas S.A., Vía Digital, Canal+ España. Screenplay by Roman Polanski, John Brownjohn, Enrique Urbizu, based on the novel El Club Dumas by Arthur Perez-Reverte. Cinematography by Darius Khondji. Produced by Roman Polanski. Music by Wojciech Kilar. Production Design by Dean Tavoularis. Costume Design by Anthony Powell. Film Editing by Herve de Luze.
This latest piece by Roman Polanski doesn’t quite pay off in the end as well as it should, but it’s a fascinating thriller all the same. Johnny Depp is terrific in the lead role as an antiques appraiser who is given the ride of his life when he’s asked to investigate the whereabouts of a book that was supposedly written by the devil himself. Depp is constantly being followed by a supernaturally gifted woman (Emmanuelle Seigner, way better here than in Polanski’s Bitter Moon) and an obsessed lady with dark purposes (the always-gorgeous Lena Olin). Polanski fared much better in the Satanic area with Rosemary’s Baby thirty years earlier, but the beautiful production design and constantly tightening plot here make it well worth a look.