Excellent in my book!
This is a love letter to those fascinated by old books, witchcraft and secret societies. It is one of Roman Polanski’s best achievements. It’s no coincidence that Depp showed interest. The script is brilliant. It’s as much about a man’s passion for literature as it is about the occult and the Devil. It isn’t about the Necronomicon or the bible. It’s somewhere in between.
Johnny Depp isn’t forcing his act. He’s not a chameleon, this time around. This is one of his most honest performances. He plays a book dealer jaded by his work who wouldn’t recognize evil if he met it. He’s a dirty capitalist, an atheist, and he will stop at nothing to get his cut. He’s looking for a grimoire; a book specifically designed to raise the Devil.
The sets are lavish. This is Manhattan in all its splendor. Hotels, libraries, extensive book collections, it even ends in a sumptuous castle, of all places. It’s a slow-burn, but it doesn’t drag. The procedural is the centerpiece, but it’s not tedious. Emmanuelle Seigner is hot. Frank Langella is enigmatic. Depp is way over his head. This film is spotless, and it has two excellent twists.