2046 (2004)

Reviewed by: Hyomil
Date: 04/07/2011

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: cal42
Date: 04/10/2009

Following the events of IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE, an emotionally bankrupt Chow Ho-Wan (Tony Leung Chiu-Wai) flits from one casual relationship to another, always thinking of his lost love, Su Li-Zhen. He now writes science fiction and steamy erotica for newspapers as well as the occasional martial arts epic, and is preoccupied with the future world of 2046 where one can recover lost memories.

I think you would have gotten superb odds if you’d approached a Chinese bookmaker in the nineties and said you wanted to bet that Wong Kar-Wai would one day do a sequel to DAYS OF BEING WILD incorporating androids and sci-fi elements. So while we’re all kicking ourselves at that particular missed opportunity, let’s look at the film on it’s own merits. 2046 is without a doubt Wong Kar-Wai’s most ambitious and expensive looking Hong Kong production, and probably about as complex as he’s gotten, too. It’s easy to forget that his films are generally no longer than about 95 minutes long as he tends to pack a lot into a relatively short running time, but this one runs at about two hours’ and seems positively titanic.

IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE’s Chow is now a heartbroken man, and personally I found him a lot more interesting this time out. He intends to take over apartment number 2046 in a local hotel (the room number he occupied in IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE where he wrote his stories with Su Li-Zhen) but ends up moving in next door at 2047. From there, he observes the female occupants of 2046 starting with Miss Wang (Faye Wong) who is learning Japanese for her boyfriend, despite her father’s disapproval of the match. Next to occupy 2046 is Bai Ling (Zhang Zi-Yi), a party girl who falls for Chow after their casual relationship develops into something more emotional – if only from her point of view.

The plot meanders quite a bit, as you might expect, with various characters drifting in and out of the story. But by and large, 2046 is not that difficult to follow if you’re paying attention (not unlike ASHES OF TIME, in fact) and the inclusion of other characters gives the film more space. Leung Fung-Ying (aka Mimi/Lulu) (Carina Lau) returns from DAYS OF BEING WILD and talks to Chow about Yuddy. Ping (Siu Ping-Lam) is still around and up to no good.

But the new ladies in Chow’s life add the most colour. Zhang Zi-Yi is the most surprising here, and she shows that she really can act. But then Wong Kar-Wai always has been able to get great performances out of his cast. Black Spider (Gong Li), on the other hand, feels like one lady too many, and for some reason I never really connect with her story, despite it being really quite important to Chow’s character (I’m not going to spoil it for those who haven’t seen the film, just take my word for it). The women of 2046 are stunningly beautiful (again, apart from Gong Li, who looks uncharacteristically unglamorous) and shot amazingly. Zhang Zi-Yi in particular is jaw-droppingly gorgeous, and the scene where Faye Wong is pacing her room repeating Japanese phrases to herself is (and I know I’m going to sound Tarantino-esque by saying this) erotically charged and the one scene that has always stayed in my memory.

The visual style of the film is also quite bold. The sixties sets are not much different from those in IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE, but the futuristic settings of the 2046 world are a great mixture of retro-futuristic kitsch and stark realism. Wong has decided, wisely, to use more than one piece of music throughout the film, a decision that made me breathe a huge sigh of relief. Even if IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE was not a true sequel to DAYS OF BEING WILD, 2046 is undoubtedly connected to both films by theme, character and setting. The “big clock” motif that permeated the other films is gone, but replaced with a multitude of mirrors which has probably provoked great debate amongst fans.

Although I feel that 2046 is a solid film, there’s no escaping the feeling that it’s always going to play second fiddle to the film that preceded it. Which is odd, as this is easily the more challenging, adventurous and arguably the more original of the two films. It certainly delivers more the more you watch it, which is something I can’t honestly say about IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE. Furthermore, the return of the film-noir voiceover monologues is welcome despite the device seeming just a tad clichéd now. Somehow, though, I suspect that Wong could have trimmed it a little and made the result more wieldy.

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: pat00139
Date: 03/04/2007
Summary: Another great movie

I count myself extremely lucky. This was the opening movie of the Busan International Film Festival in October 2004. The premiere had many Korean stars, as well as the movie’s writer/director, Wong Kar-Wai, and star, Tony Leung. I was among those in attendence. I’ll never forget it. Mr. Wong had his sunglasses, as usual, even though it was dark and the entire female population of the Takuya Kimura fanclub seemed to be seated in the seats directly behind mine. My boss and her daughter didn’t seem to enjoy the movie much, but I was quite familiar with ‘In the Mood for Love’ so I got a lot more out of this movie than them. After seeing it a second time, I got even more out of the movie and found it’s as different from ‘In the Mood for Love’ as that one is from ‘Happy Together’. Sure, the mood and cinematography might be more similar, but under all of that it’s quite different. With superb cinematography and a lush musical score, this movie is quite an experience.

When you take a mirror and throw it on the ground it breaks into a million pieces. If you’ve never seen the mirror before, it would be hard to put it back together. ‘2046’ is like a mirror. It shows you the mind of a person trying to fix himself.

At the very beginning of the movie, a robot talks to a hole in the wall. If you’ve seen ‘In the Mood for Love’, you know what that means. Its meaning is told twice in that movie, and a bunch of times in here. If you’ve got a secret, carve out a hole in a tree and whisper your thoughts into it. That way no one will ever know it. ‘2046’ begins and ends with such a whole. Chan Mo-Wan has a secret to tell.

This is like ‘Adaptation’, only much deeper, much more obscure. The delineation between reality and fiction almost isn’t there. Everything is connected somehow. What goes on in the beginning gets explained at the end, and events and the end give new meaning to things you see in the beginning.

Whatever goes on in room 2046 doesn’t really go on in room 2046. Anything that happens there is inside Mr. Leung’s head. This isn’t about reality, this is about memory and desire. The past is the past and regrets can hold you down. That black glove, like Mr. Leung says, means a mystery with no solution. Gong Li is Mr. Leung’s past. It’s something that you can know, your past is never completely revealed to you. Things happen and things change, but they seem to stay the same. Can things ever change?

In the end, you can be happy, but it’s very obtuse. The kind of happiness comes with closure. Other people be damned, as long as you fell closure, you can be confortable. Communication between people can make that closure hard. People in the movie are often in single shots. When someone talks, their mouths are covered, or other parts of their face obscured by other people or things. People can’t see each other. Hell, in this movie they literally don’t speak the same language! Only when your past is sorted out can you really know what you want. These things aren’t spoilers. They’re guides. The movie is quite vague but everything is in there for a reason. Who’s really the robot in this movie at the beginning?

Wong Kar-Wai did it again. He constructed another great movie. The ‘In the Mood for Love’ DVD shows you how he works. It shows you how flimsy he is. He uses shorts stories (usually) for inspiration, has ideas, throws them away, starts over, uses images from his childhood, talks to the actors and in the end everything seems to fall into place. I find that a little hard to believe. This movie is so well constructed, and so well thought out he had to know what he was doing from the second he started. On the other hand, I read reports of this movie’s (roughly) 4-year production that had me grow more curious by the month. Having Tony Leung and Zhang Ziyi stand in Macau, in the rain, at night, for 10 hours, for one shot that isn’t even in the movie; having a US$700 000 hotel lobby set torn down and rebuilt because a reporter snuck in and took pictures; having reshoots to no end after principal photography, and even having reshoots after the movie’s Cannes premiere – all of these things added to the movie’s mystery and mystique. It was like a saga of its own. Those reports were already on top of the speculation of what 2046 really meant and why there were robot lovers in the movie.

Mr. Wong’s movies are either getting harder to understand or getting less meaningful. People who give the bad review to this movie based on the plot being rather dull or unengaging sort of miss the point. Since perhaps the beginning of his career with ‘Days of Being Wild’ and ‘As Tears Go By’, Wong Kar-Wai’s movies have been more about symbolism than anything else. The plot is just a way of creating the message Mr. Wong wants. What Wong Kar-Wai creates is something else. Its characters being trapped in their own world, without any way to really express what they mean, they can’t evolve. Their reflections always stay the same. It took about 4 years to make this movie. Mr. Wong spent a long time making this and I wonder how many pieces of the mirror he was able to show us.

Reviewer Score: 10

Reviewed by: Chungking_Cash
Date: 02/24/2007

Neither a follow-up nor a sequel "2046" is an alternate take on the principle character from "In the Mood for Love" (2000). Juxtaposed to his previous incarnation Mr. Chow (reprised by Tony Leung Chiu-wai) is now a womanizing author of soft-core fiction. Aesthetically pleasing, but for a multi-national production with a pan Asian cast and years in the making one would expect more. The film's title is an oft-visited Wong Kar-wai metaphor though by the year 2004 it comes off as beat-you-over-the-head kind of stuff. Maggie Cheung Man-yuk returns in a cameo.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 05/27/2006

“2046” is a beautiful movie to watch and listen to; it has some powerful performances from very talented actors; the set design looks perfectly planned and executed and the cinematography is effortlessly superb. It evokes a time and place very well—the rundown hotel, packed restaurants and steamy casinos are very real. While the Hong Kong of “2046” is not as intensely crowded as the neighborhoods full of former residents of Shanghai in “In the Mood for Love”, the small rooms, ridiculously thin walls, cramped stairways and tiny common areas serve to emphasize that privacy and personal space is created only by ignoring what others do and being ignored by them. Wong Kar Wai assembled many of his repertory company of actors, added one terrific newcomer and backed them with the technical geniuses who have been part of the look and sound of his movies for years.

Unfortunately there is a huge empty spot in the middle of the movie, a black hole that sucks up much of the emotional energy and leaves only anger, despair and hopelessness. It isn’t possible to view “2046” without thinking of the rich emotional and psychological tapestry that Wong created with the relationship of Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung in “In the Mood for Love”. “2046” fails an all important test of a great movie—it doesn’t force the audience to care deeply about the characters. It is either a noble failure or cynical art house/film festival creation. Given the oft retold story of the agony of its birth I would assume it is the former.

The cinematography, as in all the collaborations between Christopher Doyle and Wong, is breathtaking. The lasting visual image is of shots through windows, doors, in mirrors or with part of foreground blocked. The audience becomes voyeurs, catching glimpses of the characters as they live their lives. Mr. Chow often spies on his neighbors, first Faye Wong as Wang Jingwen, the daughter of his landlord, and later on Zhang Ziyi as Bai Ling. His gaze also lingers over the (possibly) passed out but still beautifully composed form of Lulu (Carina Lau) when he takes her home after a night on the town. At least once he is seen and, in a way, engaged with Bai Ling as she is making love with an anonymous partner. Doyle generally uses a muted palette—the colors in the hotel are fine-grained and almost elegant and the train is full of pastels. In sharp contrast the nightclub scenes are brightly lit and gaudy, visually underling the emotionally crippled psyche of Mr. Chow—he is the same hollow person no matter what. He can break the heart of a woman who loves him or be the life of the party with acquaintances with the same nonchalance.

The costuming is perfect. Maggie Cheung, with her thirty or so different cheongsams in “ITMFL”, set a never to be achieved again standard of perfection of actress and costume, Zhang Ziyi looks wonderful in the several she wears and exquisite in her meticulously vulgar upscale Hong Kong hooker wardrobe. Tony Leung usually is dressed in a white shirt, skinny white tie and nondescript dark suit—he wears this outfit as a uniform or camouflage.

Tony Leung has one of the most male of male gazes in cinema—up there with, for example, Clark Gable, with whom he has an uncanny resemblance in this movie. Not so much physically—other than the mustache—but in his eyes, in the way he looks at (or through) other people, especially women. He is a real “man’s man” with all the dreary baggage that comes with it. Tony Leung moves effortlessly through this part, inhabiting Mr. Chow very comfortably. He is a rake and a reprobate who feels he has been injured by women and can hurt them with emotional impunity.

It isn’t surprising that Zhang Ziyi doesn’t fare at well. Early in the movie, in the flirtatious and then desperate and sorrowful scenes with Tony Leung she does an admirable job. Later on, during the meeting with Mr. Chow at the restaurant when she tells him she is leaving for Singapore, a scene she has to carry, her inexperience becomes more obvious. Bai Ling is a very rich character, a young woman who lives by her wits and uses the only asset she has—her body—to survive. She falls in love with the wrong men but, to Wong’s credit, who Zhang recently criticized for his coldness toward her during the filming, Bai Ling never becomes a truly pathetic figure. She throws herself at Mr. Chow one last time when he brings him to her slum of a room but is still headed for Singapore to try her luck in the nightclubs there.

Carina Lau is wonderful—as is almost always the case with the beautiful and talented actress—as Lulu. A startling and telling shot occurred in an extreme close-up of her when she opened her eyes for just a moment as Mr. Chow was leaving her room after their drunken night on the town. Carina Lau’s face was horizontal on the screen—she was lying on a bed—and she was able to express a world of longing, anger and pain with just her eyes.

The narrative structure of “2046” has been discussed a lot and I don’t have anything to add. While there are some obvious anomalies—characters referring to something that couldn’t yet have occurred are the most obvious—they are easy to overlook.

The music is terrific. “Casta Diva” from Bellini’s “Norma” expresses erotic longing and renunciation as well as can be. The hipster pop tunes—“Siboney”, “Sway”—and different arrangements of “The Christmas Song” create a sense of the 1960s. Shigeru Umebayshi’s score, especially the opening theme and violin interlude, are lovely in themselves and also fit very well with the action on the screen.

This is a difficult movie to rate—it is beautiful but empty, much like Mr. Chow. The science fiction sections on the train aren’t terribly well done, the constant use of the “secret” motif, whispering a secret into a hole in a tree, doesn’t lead anywhere at all and some of the characters are so unconvincing that they draw attention themselves, such as when Mr. Wang gave up his life-long hatred of the Japanese for the sake of his daughter.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: j.crawford
Date: 03/12/2006
Summary: tragically dull

A phenomenally pseudo-intellectual, tragically dull, unintentionally funny film starring Tony Leung Chiu-Wai. This movie is the result of what happens when a creative, talented person reads the positive reviews of his work and falls victim to all that smoke being blown up his behind.

Reviewer Score: 4

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 07/29/2005
Summary: 4/10 - largely a waste of time for all concerned

Due to contractual obligations and his lacksadaisical approach to film shooting, Wong Kar-Wai had to begin work on 2046 whilst he was still working on IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE. He found that he couldn't keep the two projects separate in his head, and parts of one kept crossing over into the other, until he eventually decided they were both different aspects of the same film and should be treated as such. After reaching this decision, you'd think it would be quite straightforward to produce 2046 once ITMFL was wrapped. For some reason it took him another 4 years, leading more than one HK film to conjecture that 2046 was actually when he planned to release it.

I suspect that what really happened was that WKW realised some time after finishing ITMFL that it really didn't need a second part, but he'd already started shooting 2046 as one and kept trying to make it work - a case of round peg, square hole, I suspect. There must have been some point during those 4 years where somebody could have said "Look, this was obviously a bad idea, forget what you said before and just make 2046 a stand-alone film". But they didn't, or couldn't, or did but nobody listened.

Since 2046 was already a very lose follow-up to Wong's second film, DAYS OF BEING WILD, 2046 can be considered the 3rd part of a trilogy. The film actually makes more explicit reference to the earlier film, with Carina Lau returning as the same character she played in 1990 (having skipped ITMFL), and a scene of Tony Leung's character getting ready for a night out almost explicitly tying his characters together across all three films. Numerous details point out the fact he is the same Mr Chow that he played in ITMFL, but he seems to have had something of a personality transplant. In ITMFL he was a somewhat repressed, semi-tragic fellow, but 2046 sees him hopping from bed to bed in a manner more reminiscent of Leslie Cheung's character in DOBW. One supposes that his experiences in ITMFL changed him, left him a little damaged perhaps, but it could be argued at least as convincingly that he's just not quite the same character he was before, or that 2046 takes place in a slightly different universe to ITMFL. There's a lot of bed hopping in 2046 - in fact much of the film's running time seems to involve either the lead-up, fall-out or execution of some bed-based trysting. Wong quite famously cut the love scene he filmed for ITMFL out of the final version because he felt it didn't need to be shown, made explicit or dwelled upon. Apparently he didn't feel the same way about any of the love scenes in 2046, which leaves little to the imagination or the gods of ambiguity.

Maggie Cheung barely appears in the film, having a very brief cameo as Su Lizhen (Mrs Chan) and another brief cameo as a robot in 2046, which turns out to be the name of a story that Tony's character is writing, set in 2046 (which may be the name of a place as much as it is a year, though it's all ambiguously symbolic). Since Maggie's not around much, this time it's Zhang Ziyi's turn to have the camera linger on her in a series of high-necked dresses, or out of them as the circumstances require. There's no possible room for argument that she looks fabulous whatever she's wearing, and she seems quite comfortable giving a fairly raunchy performance (I suspect Maggie would not have been so uninhibited). Faye Wong makes an appearance in the film, possibly in some vague atttempt to bring CHUNGKING EXPRESS into the Menage a Trois, though there's no particular suggestion that her characters are related in the two films. Her story isn't given all that much screen time, but she gets much longer shrift than either Dong Jie (blink and you'll miss her) or Gong Li (whom Wong Kar Wai somehow manages to make unattractive, and whose character seems largely pointless in the film). Wong Kar-Wai managed to assemble an almost unprecedented collection of the most attractive and esteemed Asian actresses for the film, but doesn't seem to have had much idea what to do with them (apart from Zhang Ziyi).

That pretty much sums up 2046 for me... Wong just doesn't seem to have known what to do with the film, or why he was making it. He brings up references to DAYS OF BEING WILD (e.g. the bird with no legs) and IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE (e.g. whispering secrets into a hole) but then doesn't seem to have anything to add. Cinematographer Christopher Doyle has observed this himself, suggesting that 2046 was "unnecessary" (and that WKW realised that himself during production).

Of course there's pretty images, with some expert cinematography that places the viewer in mostly voyeuristic positions, glimpsing the characters in reflection or half-hidden by the environment or each other. The aim is clearly to create the feeling that we are spying on the characters private lives, not even a fly on the wall so much as a peeping tom. ITMFL was apparently supposed to put the audience in the role of one of the neighbours, catching fragmented parts of the main characters lives and developing suspicions about what was going on behind closed doors. 2046 makes us much more proactive observers, witnessing the characters most private moments, even violating the privacy of their own heads thanks to the return of Wong's trademark voice-overs. Even with this extremely privileged perspective, I was still mostly at a loss what Wong wanted us to learn from the experience. That the path of love ne'er runs straight or true? Yes, we knew that already thanks.

The conclusion that I'm forced to reach is that Wong didn't really have much of a plan for the film, and found himself reaching for ideas through reference to his early work rather than looking for something new to say. It may be that the film was originally meant to be set entirely in 2046, which is significant because it's the year when China's 50 year "hands off" policy for Hong Kong expires, and the territory will become fully integrated with the mainland. I wish he had gone with this, because the 2046 scenes were very pretty and Faye Wong makes a great robot. However, he still doesn't seem to have had anything in particular to say in those scenes, so a full film of them might still have been very boring.

Well, there I've gone and said it - 2046 is to me a very boring film. I felt very little attachment to the characters or interest in their love lives, troubled as they may have been. Within 30 minutes the fast forward button on my remote control was starting to look almost as attractive as Zhang Ziyi, and by about 50 minutes my resolve broke and I used it fairly liberally for the remainder of the film when my tedium threshold was exceeded. I just went to double speed, still enough to read the subtitles and follow everything that happened easily enough, and dropped back to normal play speed when things looked a bit more interesting or Zhang Ziyi's clothes fell off. There weren't really enough moments of either though, so I finished the film in under 2 hours (normal speed running time is about 130 minutes). It might be unfair for me to criticise a film when I've not given it a proper chance to work its mojo, but honestly I couldn't possibly have finished it without cheating a bit.

And when a film featuring Zhang Ziyi, Gong Li and Maggie Cheung is still borderline unwatchable, that's actually quite an achievement :p Still, at least I only felt like I'd wasted 2 hours when the film finished - Wong Kar-Wai seems to have wasted 4 years :(

It'll be interesting to see what Wong comes up with next - hopefully he's not going to stay stuck in this rut he's got himself into. Rumour has him tackling a biopic of Bruce Lee next, which is certainly different, but it's hard to imagine the subject being an ideal match for his particular style(s) and method(s). Personally I think he should go back to wu xia fiction, and see if he can produce anything even remotely as good as ASHES OF TIME again.

Reviewer Score: 4

Reviewed by: driftheory
Date: 07/13/2005

A writer arrives in Singapore for starting a new life, which is nothing but counting time at dealing tables. His name is Chow Mo-Wan (Leung Chiu-Wai). A mysterious woman, only known as Black Spider, quietly walks into his life and brings back his lost memory, the memory of the time he spent with an married woman named Su Li-Zhen (Maggie Cheung). Black Spider helps the writer to win back his money then he could buy a ticket returning to Hong Kong. She refused to share her past with him, except her name, which is also Su Li-Zhen (Gong Li).

The writer returns to Hong Kong alone and on Christmas Eve, he meet Lu Lu (Lau Kar-ling), another woman from his past, who now has no memory of him. Chow sees a familiar number on the door of Lu Lu's hotel room - 2046. Room 2046 was filled with memory of the days he had with Su Li-Zhen, and is now trashed by Lu Lu's boyfriend CC (Chang Chen).

He moves into Room 2047 to start his life, again as a free-lancer. He met two daughters of the hotel owner (Wang Sum), Wang Jie Wen (Dong Jie) and Wang Jing Wen (Faye Wong). Jing Wen's relationship with her Japanese boyfriend (Kimura Takuya) was not allowed by his father and Jie Wen just started to learn what love was. Then a new tenant, Bai Ling (Zhang Ziyi), moved into 2046 and he picks her up in no time. Just when she shows some real feeling, he immediately excludes her from his life.

He starts writing a new story, titled 2046, for Jing Wen and her boyfriend. In the story, a train departs for 2046 once in a while and people boarded the train would find back their lost memories. No one wanted to leave 2046, except Tak (Kimura Takuya). He falls in love with a senseless robot (Wong Faye), who offered him great joy along the ride. But each time Tak asks her to go with him, the answer is always silence.

2046 was in development when In The Mood For Love was still in progress. It was originally thought as a sequel to it, but is really about a story of its own. Wong Kar-Wai struggled for five years to tell us a story, or a collection of stories, about a dissolute and disillusioned writer and fractions of his experience with six women. Wong Kar-Wai takes us through a thrilling ride, drifting between the writer's memory and his fantasized train journey from 2046. Su Li-Zhen of Singapore is nicely portrayed by Gong Li. She is a con of card game, who is always dressed mysteriously in black. The writer discovers something familiar, which reminds him other Su Li-Zhen from his past. He tries to uncover her secret and lure her into his life but fails. Gong Li's role keeps such great distance away from her early films that we would forget she used to work with Zhang Yimou.

Lu Lu, a showgirl lives in her jealousy, is played by Lau Kar-ling, the girlfriend of Leung Chiu-Wai. She is changing love interest so friendly that no memory is left for the writer, one of so many men she has dated. Later on the train, she is a robot, sexy and senseless.

Faye Wong and Kimura Takuya play a couple of lover who could not be together because of the girl's father. The writer starts to deliver letters for them and later recruits her as his assistance. Something between them blooms but her heart still belongs to someone else. Faye Wong is very impressive as playing a girl in love and a gorgeous robot who knows nothing but serving the train riders. Kimura Takuya does a great job as her Japanese boyfriend, desperately to get the girl she love, and the sole passenger on the train, desperately to leave his memory behind. He is, again and again, asking the robot to come with him, even though there is no hope that she would ever answer.

Zhang Ziyi is ranked number five on the cast list, but she is really the star of 2046, only next to Leung Chiu-Wai. Her character, Bai Ling, is a prostitute, though the film has never made it clear. Her time with the writer is sweet but short. They attempt nothing from each other but quietly starts to grow. She is the women he knows the most and is also the one he least wants to have serious relationship with. Zhang Ziyi skillfully shows us the evolution of her character, a performance breaking-through her past. Now I am really convinced she could play any role she wants.

Chang Chen and Dong Jie only shows up for a couple of minutes, either because their roles are too supporting or because their scenes have been cut. Maggie Cheung, the star of In The Mood For Love, only does a cameo her. 2046 is no longer her story.

2046 is like a lavish feast celebrating the finest arts ever created. Christopher Doyle, Lai Yiu-Fai and Kwan Pun-Leung, the men behind the camera lenses, are truly masters of colors, lights and layers. They use mirrors, glasses, door frames and all other tool they can find, to create illusive images, which makes us to believe the writer's mind only exists in a illusion. From the women's dresses and the hotel literally rusting to dust to the futuristic robot suits and the high tech train, Chang Suk-Ping, the art director and costume designer, masterfully created two drastically different worlds being seamlessly blended into one film. Original scores by Peer Raben and Shigeru Umebayashi and unoriginal music from masters of the past also transform the film into a classic collection of operas.

2046 is Wong Kar-Wai's most stylish work ever. We see his mind travels through time and space, freely and randomly, collecting various pieces of his imagination, to depict a journey of a man. In the end, we see the stor returns to the exact point where it started more than two hours before. The only difference is the writer has more memories for feeling sad and we just finished riding a cinematic extravaganza. 2046 is not a film suitable for everyone. Stay, if you are looking for an experience and go, if you are looking for a story. 2046 is very 2046 and 2046 is very Wong Kar-Wai.

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 06/15/2005
Summary: IS it me or does everyone cry!!

I feel this is better than "in the mood for love" but what i was disappointed at was the lack of Gong li in the movie. I heard the director had to rush this version of 2046 and that would explain alot!! For Tony to fall in love with Gong Li in such a short period is the only downfall of this movie.Sure gong Li's character has the same name as Maggie Cheungs but a name is not enough to convince me that this could occur.

The tears from the characters flow like a river out of control. There are no weak performances but the ending left me feeling empty.


Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 06/10/2005

2046 was almost four years in the making. Its' production time became so long that it was even made into a joke in movies like Golden Chicken 2. However, the long time seems to have been worth it -- 2046 is one of Wong Kar-Wai's best films to date. In a year that was marked by an decidely average output from everywhere in the world, 2046 stands out and is, in my opinion, the best film of 2004.

2046 is a sequel to 2000's In the Mood for Love and continues the story of Chan Wo Man (Tony Leung Chui-Wai), who is heartbroken after not being able to be with his true love Su Li Zhen (Maggie Cheung). Chan moves into a hotel after seeing the number on one of the rooms (2046), and spends his time romancing various women while writing a science-fiction story. After a time, he concentrates his time on a prositiute (Zhang Ziyi) staying in the room next to his and the daughter (Faye Wong) of his landlord. As Chan starts developing real feelings from the women in his life once again, they give him inspiration, and he puts them (and himself) into his story. However, Chan's past never allows him to truly let his guard down and fully let the women he loves into his heart.

Like Wong Kar-Wai's other work, 2046 concentrates itself on the feelings of loneliness people carry with them, even when they are surrounded by people. Though Chan is with beautiful women who openly care for him, he cannot commit to them. It is through Tony Leung's wonderful performance that Chan Wo Man becomes something other than a character in a movie -- he becomes a real person. As an audience, we might want him to be with one woman, but it is through the performance that we know this can never be. Even though the ending is depressing, in this case, that is the only way it could be. Chan pouring his heart out and giving a warm embrace to these women would not fit. It might not be the way we as an audience would like things to happen, but, as in life, some things in film don't work out the way we imagine they should.

As regular readers of this site will know, I'm not much for "deep" movies. Hell, I'm a guy who used to run a Wong Jing tribute site. But there are some times when a movie qualifies as a work of art, and 2046 is one of them. It's one of those rare films that lingers with you long after it has finished. Even though it takes place in Hong Kong in the 1960's (and in some sort of alternate future), the themes here will resonate with just about anyone who has ever felt some sort of love in their life and then had to give it away.

The fact that 2046 is simply gorgeous doesn't hurt, either. Christopher Doyle's mad genius is once again in full effect, and, as always, the soundtrack compliments the film perfectly; as with "California Dreamin'" in Chungking Express, the use of "White Christmas" here gives the song a whole new meaning -- what is usually regarded as a joyful yuletide tune becomes a melancholy allegory for Chan's life. To sum up, 2046 is a fairly simple film on the surface, but unlike most every other movie coming out nowadays, there's actually some depth to it. If you consider yourself a film lover in any way, you owe it to yourself to at see 2046 at least once in your lifetime.

[review from www.hkfilm.net]

Reviewed by: pjshimmer
Date: 02/12/2005

Although "2046" is certainly not Wong Kar Wai's finest directorial achievement, it still manages to instantly become my favorite film at the moment. "2046" truly exemplifies the magic of filmmaking; it was worth the long wait.


Reviewer Score: 10