George Kelley recommended this movie to me. It slipped by me completely on its original release, and I didn't even know that it had to do with rare books and book collectors. So I was glad to catch up with it on DVD.
Johnny Depp, doing his usual excellent job, plays a book dealer with questionable ethics. (I refuse to make any jokes here.) He's hired by Boris Balkan (Frank Langella) to compare his copy of a very rare book to the only two remaining copies. The book has an interesting history, and it begins to seem that the certain illustrations might have been done by Lucifer, whose work appears on different pages in each copy. Put all his engravings together, and what do you get? That's for Langella to know and for Depp to find out.
In some ways this is an effective horror movie, a lot more interesting to me than any number of variations on the old "how many buckets of fake blood can we use" pictures around these days. The book collecting aspects are especially appealing, and Depp's detective work is often engrossing. He's not an appealing character even at the beginning, and he becomes a much worse person as the plot thickens. Along the way he's assisted by a woman who may (or may not) be Lucifer in earthly form. (And not a bad form at all, I must say.)
So what's not to like? Well, the parts that are good in themselves don't add up to an entirely successful whole. The occult sex club wasn't creepy or effective, and the ending didn't satisfy me, though it might have impressed me more if I'd been sure what it meant. Overall, the movie's certainly worth a look, especially if you like books.