Just so you know, Asia Argento only spends about eight minutes total screen time in black lingerie. If that's your main reason for watching this movie, adjust your expectations accordingly.
"Boarding Gate" is a highbrow version of a straight to video erotic thriller whose main appeal (beyond the aforementioned lingerie) lies in its odd juxtaposition of artsy sheen and pulpy core. The plot is a deliberately unfleshed out contraption involving a love affair gone bad, deadly double crosses, and sinister "corporate" intrigue that will be risible to anyone who has ever had an office job. Even more so than in in most noir, this is just a pretext for an extended exercise in style, or actually two exercises. The first half of the movie is a kinky pas de deux between Argento's Sandra, a prostitute/industrial spy and her former lover Miles (Michael Madsen), a down on his luck financier with whom she remains inexplicably obsessed. (After this movie, Asia Argento's status as an object of desire among pudgy fifty year old guys will be set in stone.) Despite a constant background hum of preposterousness, their meandering confrontations are well done, and the French cinema flourishes seem entirely appropriate window dressing for what is basically a long softcore tease. Then there's a twist, and "Boarding Gate" shifts gears into a protracted chase through the streets of Hong Kong. ("It becomes a B-movie," Argento says with winning candor in the DVD extras.) The cinematography is striking in this half--director Olivier Assayas has a flair for neon cityscapes--but a chase scene is a chase scene, and this one overstays its welcome.
For some, I imagine the movie's insistence on its own wised-up sophistication--the big city glamor of Paris and Hong Kong, Brian Eno on the soundtrack, and the stunt casting of Kim Gordon as a shady corporate player (a mistake: Gordon may the coolest person to have inhabited lower Manhattan in the past twenty five years, but as an actress she's wooden)--will be a bit much. For me, it was all just part of Assayas's jet set fantasy world. Only in a couple of performances, however, does "Boarding Gate" show any actual heart. Michael Madsen brings a certain burly gravitas to what could easily be just another rich guy role, and Asia Argento really shines. Her character slips back and forth between feral eroticism, femme fatale toughness, and dewy vulnerability, often multiple times in the same scene. There isn't a shred of psychological reality to be found here, but you don't care because it's so compelling to watch Argento go running off in five different directions at once. I get the feeling that her performance is the only thing in the film that worked exactly as intended. And, yes, for those eight minutes or so, she looks amazing.