conjured up a vision from Hell in a New York brownstone apartment
house some thirty years previously, director Roman Polanski returned
to the diabolical fold with this, a loose adaptation of the novel El
by Spanish author Arturo Perez-Reverte. And although the quiet,
precise trappings of the filmmaker's work remain intact in this old
curiosity, it is ultimately a film less interested in heralding the
coming of the Devil than one that sees fit to tell us that he's
been here the entire time.
Corso (Johnny Depp) is a reptilian book dealer who cheats unwitting
people out of antiquated volumes worth thousands with as much ease as
lighting up one of his ever-handy cigarettes. There is no passion or
sense of duty in his task, only reward and gain. That's what makes
him an ideal candidate for the imposing collector Boris Balkan (Frank
Langella), a grave eccentric who owns a library of ancient texts
based solely around Satan.