Directed by Oliver Assayas (Clean, Demonlover), the Cannes midnight selection Boarding Gate tells the story of Sandra (Asia Argento) -- a confused young woman trying to figure out her relationship with Miles (Michael Madsen), a financier who's fallen into a run of bad luck. Sandra and Miles used to be lovers, but that's over; Miles also used to hire Sandra to service visiting clients and turn their pillow talk into business intelligence; that's over, too -- but they still have plenty to talk about. ...

People much smarter than I are very fond of Assayas's work -- most especially Demonlover, a movie that elicited love-it-or-hate-it reactions from critics and viewers. Like Demonlover, Boarding Gate takes place in a hinky, kinky realm, a world of secrets and lies where big business, espionage, sex and emotional connection all combine. In Boarding Gate, though, there's one problem; the film has no motor to drive it. Sandra gets into trouble, sure -- and gets in deep -- but neither Assayas's script nor Argento's performance give us any reason to care if Sandra makes it though in one piece; the fact that Argento's character swings between seductive pouting and go-away petulance doesn't help. Argento may be an attractive mammal -- the film certainly thinks so, as it never skips a chance to show us her stripping down -- but as an actual actress, she's a washout. Not to be crass, but if Argento's line readings and character were as well-developed and fully-rounded as her breasts, I've no doubt Boarding Gate would have been a better film.
categories Reviews, Cinematical