There’s something about pronounced sexual content, flagrant floozies and B-movie tawdriness that seems to go down well with N.Y. Times critic Manohla Dargis. Which is one of the things I like about her — she has some kind of a soft spot for this stuff and is honest about it, and, being a talented writer, says so with flair and style. But the more you read about Boarding Gate, which I’ll see on a disc sometime this weekend, the more you go “hmmm.”
Calling it “a casually beautiful, preposterously plotted, elliptical thriller,” Dargis admits it “earned little love last year when it played at the Cannes Film Festival, where it was shown out of competition.” (I was there and nobody even mentioned it, much less told me to check it out. I didn’t risk seeing it because of Asia Argento-Michael Madsen casting, which indicated a possible ick or groan factor.)
Plus “it didn’t do much for [director Oliver] Assayas‘s reputation,” she writes, “at least among some critics, who had been just as eager to dismiss his other recent films, among them Clean (’04) and the much-maligned demonlover (’02).
“What Boarding Gate did do was reconfirm Ms. Argento as one of contemporary cinema’s most fascinating creatures. Her on-screen ferocity is now generating as much interest as her tattoos — an angel hovers above her pubic bone, and an eye stares out from one shoulder — or the ease with which she sheds her clothes, which explains why I can describe those tattoos with confidence.”