Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Review - Boarding Gate

This sexy drama directed by Olivier Assayas tells the story of an Italian woman (Sandra) played by Asia Argento who allows herself to fall into a fatal web of deceit with her estranged passionate lover played by Michael Madsen, her new lover and his wife.

While the premise and setup of this film seemed solid, the overall delivery and performances were flat and ultimately disapointing. Argento who was sultry at best, has yet to deliver in a starring role. Her confused and unimaginative character bumbles along throughout the film with moments of enthusiasm, but leaves you wanting a much more fulfilling finale. Furthermore, Argento gives no believability to a woman who has paid an ultimate price physically, emtionally, in friendship, and in love. I felt completely unconnected with her character, leaving me uninterested in the dismal conclusion.

The direction of Assayas was not very inventive and terribly dry. The twists in the story were non-dramatic, like the performances, and had the viewer loosing interest quickly. Boarding Gate had the potential to be a very strong, dark, gritty film that could rival the likes of La Femme Nakita or Romeo is Bleeding, while instead only gave a few moments gritty dialogue or sultry cinematogrophy. Furthermore, Argento's character is disillusioned and never gives any real effort to show the depth of her characters passion.

Michael Madsen provided to be one of the only positive aspects in the film. Madsen was in top form as a "hired gun" who wants to retire and settle down with his lost lover. Madsen best moments are when he is confronted by his ex-lover and tries to regain her trust. The dialogue between Agrento and Madsen is worth noting as the only worth while dialogue throughout the film. The rest of the dialogue was choppy at best. Unfortunately, Madsen performance is short and centers more around the weaker Argento, leaving the film to suffer.

Argento's performance, the shotty dialogue, and ulitmately a weak story development make this film hard to like. While Argento does her best to use her sex appeal in this role, Assayas under utilizes her appeal in his direction and the sexy segments of the film are overshadowed by all of the other looming problems. Boarding Gate only has a running time of 106 minutes, however feels much too long with the poor third act. Boarding Gate had me hyped going in for a gritty, sexy, violent, drama. Unfortunately, I ended up with a poorly acted, unimaginative tale of deceit that had the viewer screaming "what was that," at the end.