Boarding Gate (2008)



Critic Consensus: Boarding Gate has little substance beneath its faux-thriller surface, and marks a step down from director Olivier Assayas' usual work.

Movie Info

From director Olivier Assayas comes this erotic thriller starring Asia Argento as Sandra, a former prostitute, and Michael Madsen as Miles, her onetime pimp-turned-high-powered businessman. Brought back together after a separation, Sandra and Miles are reunited when Sandra returns to Paris after an extended absence. Despite the fact that neither of the two former lovers are the same people they were back in the day, their kinky sexual relationship is nonetheless rekindled. It seems that some … More

Rating: R (for violence, sexual content, language and some drug material)
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Olivier Assayas
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jun 3, 2008
Magnolia Pictures


as Lester Wang

as Sue Wang

as Andrew

as Abacus Worker #1

as Abacus Worker #2

as Abacus Worker #3

as Mr. Ho

as DJ at Vega

as Security Guard
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Boarding Gate

Friend Ratings

No Friends? Inconceivable! Log in to see what your friends have to say.


Critic Reviews for Boarding Gate

All Critics (44) | Top Critics (19)

What it all means is up for grabs, but for connoisseurs of sadomasochistic nastiness, it's a must-see.

Full Review… | April 17, 2008
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

The main thing interesting about Boarding Gate is the spectacle of Assayas' effort -- the attitude and the international backdrop -- not the story itself.

Full Review… | April 11, 2008
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Like just about everything in Boarding Gate, the finale suggests that its creators have been watching too many other movies with similar premises and payoffs.

Full Review… | March 28, 2008
Seattle Times
Top Critic

The plot may be murky, but actress Asia Argento is a clear and commanding force throughout.

Full Review… | March 28, 2008
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

This hypnotic, angular thriller about sex, murder, betrayal and money takes you on a feverish journey from nowhere to somewhere.

Full Review… | March 21, 2008
Top Critic

A ridiculous poseur thriller that seems to be made up of the slow moments from Hong Kong action films and Euro-flashy stuff like Run Lola Run.

Full Review… | March 21, 2008
New York Daily News
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Boarding Gate


At firt i didnt wanna see this, i wasnt interested in this at all and i should have stuck to that because this movie is extremely shit! i gave it 1 and half stars just because there was a shooting and murders that made it a little bit interesting but the rest shit!
The sotryline is shit and so shit that even at the end your wondering what the hell that movie is about !
not worth the time ir effect crap!!

Film Crazy

Super Reviewer

Meandering thriller with much style but little substance. Argento may have a smouldering beauty but her acting leaves much to be desired and Madsen is unconvincing.

Gordon A

Super Reviewer


[font=Garamond][size=3]"Boarding Gate," the new English-language film from French writer/director [b]Olivier Assayas[/b], has a terribly bland title, but it's not a bland film. It'[/size][/font][font=Garamond][size=3]s in no way a masterpiece, but it's an interesting story centering on a set of criminals struggling to make ends meet and striving to navigate the emotional intrigues that develop between them.[/size][/font]


[font=Garamond][size=3]The film also has the astonishing actress [b]Asia Argento[/b], daughter of legendary horror schlockmeister, Dario Argento. This woman must be seen to be believed. I have been reading about her for a few years now, but this was my first opportunity to see her in a leading role. [u]Argento is a revelation[/u]. She has an other-worldly screen charisma and primal, instinctual intelligence that reminds me of a young Marlon Brando. She also has the effortless sensual allure of Marilyn Monroe and the punk fuck-you confidence and beyond-gender transcendence of Patti Smith circa 1976.. [/size][/font]

[font=Garamond][size=3]Her performance here is sensual, but it's nowhere near as vulgar as the poster above would suggest. There are a couple of sex scenes, but the film is much more about the heart strings than the loins. I think it's a bit gross that the distributors chose to market the film using a labia shot. [/size][/font]

[font=Garamond][size=3]This shot really is from the film (although the gun was -- revoltingly -- airbrushed in), and it's true that Argento is known for her extreme on-screen openness with her body. It's also true that the French have become known for on-screen pornography and general radicalism in artistic films, a movement of which Assayas is to some degree a part. So this marketing ploy wasn't coming out of left field. But "Boarding Gate" is not that radical actually and it is in no way pornographic, so the poster is misleading. It mischaracterizes the film. But if a labia shot gets more people into the theaters, then I'm fine with it. It's tough to market art-house films in America, so I don't begrudge the distributor a little tawdry pandering.[/size][/font]

[font=Garamond][size=3]Argento plays a woman in Paris having two affairs: one with an American (played by [b]Michael Madsen[/b], in a bit of stunt-casting a la Quentin Tarantino, who is surely a hero of Assayas's) and the other with a Chinese man for whom she's working. The early part of the film focuses on the unusual tug-of-war involved in her relationship with the American. (I love you. I hate you. I don't love you anymore, but I'm attracted to you. No, I really love you. No, I hate you!) There is also a sado-masochistic element to the relationship, with one sex scene involving strangulation. Then there's a radical twist in the plot, which I won't give away, and the second half centers on the relationship with the Chinese man -- and with the Chinese man's wife. [/size][/font]

[font=Garamond][size=3]In addition to relationships, the criminal activity of these characters is explored. Gradually details of this are revealed, and there are a handful of double crosses that are unsettling. Much of the dramatic tension stems from the uncertainty as to who is double-crossing whom, which only gradually is clarified for the audience. Argento's character never really learns who has double-crossed her, and for a long time the viewer is just as uncertain. The film very successfully captures this frightening feeling of not knowing whom to trust. It also succeeds at conveying the danger that Argento's character is in. There is a chase sequence through the crowded streets of Hong Kong that is chilling. One really feels mortal danger in the air.[/size][/font]

[font=Garamond][size=3]Ultimately though, "Boarding Gate" is more interested in the romantic yearnings and jealousies that keep passing between this band of engaging miscreants. I was moderately interested in this aspect of the story. But Assayas didn't succeed at making me care that deeply. I think I would have cared more if all the actors were at Argento's level, or anywhere near it. This was not the case. Madsen was pretty laughable, looking like his character had been shipped in from a bad American TV show. [/size][/font]

[font=Garamond][size=3]The Chinese actors were also two-dimensional, and [b]Kim Gordon[/b] (from the art-rock band Sonic Youth -- yet another bit of stunt-casting) appears in a cameo that is horrendous. Gordon has great stage presence when performing music, but acting is most definitely not her forte. I'm quite confident we won't be seeing Gordon in any more movies.[/size][/font]

Bill D 2007
William Dunmyer

Super Reviewer

Boarding Gate Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss Boarding Gate on our Movie forum!