French writer-director Olivier Assayas’ (Demonlover, Clean, Summer Hours) film, Boarding Gate, doesn’t sit obediently in its erotic-thriller billing. As anyone might gather from the title, the idea behind Boarding Gate is that some plots may transcend or toe many boundaries or borders, Boarding Gate itself being mainly a crime-laden work, a series of half-examined sexual and entrepreneurial relations—not all, but many ending fittingly with murder. Surely an apt aim for a film whose purported first title was Departed.
Boarding Gate is a film that follows Sandra (Asia Argento), a former escort who’s employed by a couple deep in the black market—the couple smuggles drugs into Paris via various living room ensembles and runs a successful DVD-pirate ring in Hong Kong. Sandra sleeps with her boss, Lester Wang (Carl Ng). One of Sandra’s more satisfied former patrons is Miles Rennberg (Michael Madsen), with whom she had become romantically involved many times over, and inexplicably tries to rekindle her love for at the film’s outset; their shared memories only the kinky sex they had and the word “slave,” which Miles finds turns on Sandra. The effort to rekindle any romance inevitably fails—lo, they are incompatible, and Miles had promised one million dollars that he was never good for. Sandra shoots Miles several times while he’s tied to a bedpost, shouting wildly for punishment, not expecting. In a still crazier turn of events, Sandra discovers there was a hit out on Miles, that he was in debt big to some Chinese suits, and that her boss, Lester, was supposed to carry out the hit. Lester offers to split the bounty and sends Sandra packing to China to collect it. Read more