A surprising number of people I know appear to have seen a thoroughly mediocre film called The Ninth Gate—a film that would be much less disappointing if it hadn’t been directed by Roman Polanski and starred Johnny Depp and Frank Langella, who I usually like. Problem is, it’s a severely mutilated adaptation of a much better novel, The Club Dumas by Arturo Perez-Reverte. While the movie manages to leave out or mangle most of the things that make the book so interesting, alas, it remains just similar enough that you’ll be robbed of many of surprises and twists that you’d rather have slowly unveiled.
So: Go read The Club Dumas. And if you haven’t already seen it, in the name of all things unholy, make sure you don’t watch The Ninth Gate before you’ve read the novel.