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on 21 November 2017
Some superb cinematography combined with a feeble,lack-lustre script and some poorly directed acting. No one should kid themselves that this is some of Wong Kar-Wai's finest work - this is poor film-making from a guy who has a good deal of talent. The quality of the camerawork,lighting, and visual aspects are not enough to salvage this poorly conceived piece of work - not recommended.
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on 15 October 2017
Very good
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on 26 April 2017
I love the film.
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on 14 February 2006
2046 is a masterful period piece and profoundly moving meditation on unrequited love, loss and desire. Its narrative is complex and rambling, its effect verbose and grandiose. But its combination of emotional impact and sumptuous visual artistry lift it into lofty cinematic heights.
The central character from 'in the mood for love' is reprised as a deeply jaded modern Casanova in 1960's Hong kong. Love is intricately bound to loss for him and his Hong Kong exploits serve to inflict this view upon his amorous conquests. The period detail and nuance of character and acting are exceptional. The same themes from 'in the mood for love' are blown up onto a radically large, disjointed canvas encompassing mirror narratives and a science fiction future. Is some of the effectiveness of the earlier work lost in the process? Maybe so but the artistic imagination and emotional evocation of themes make up for this.
2046 is used to stand for that which is desired and simultaneously unattainable. A date too far in the future for the characters to live to. Through the main character Tony Leung's writing of a short story 2047 and a future narrative set on a bullet train the idea that love is already lost is repeatedly evoked. This supremely jaded view of life and love is brought out in all the central character's doings.'I,m already missing you' black spider tells him in Singapore. Fictional episodes penned by Tony Leung blend with the main narrative to constantly stir up this tragic outlook. The viewer is left haunted and spellbound by the sumptuous visual realization of the lives of the characters in Hong Kong, and by the bravado and imagination of the science fiction story within a story. For someone unfamiliar with Wong Kar-wai's earlier work this could all seem like a bridge too far. But fans of 'in the mood for love' will recognize an accomplished master letting loose with all the tools and imagination in a considerable arsenal.
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on 12 October 2005
This is an amazing film, that gets better with each repeated viewing. "2046" is a hotel room number, which for the hero, Chow, encapsulates his lost love, as it unfolded in the prequel to this movie, "In the Mood for Love." Here, "2046" also becomes a year to which one can travel by a time-machine type of train, a year in which it is believed people can recapture their lost memories. The film consists of the hero, who has loved and lost, going through a series of encounters with women, who in their turn have loved and lost. Throughout his series of experiences with women, he is in fact only looking for his lost love, Su Lizhen, but he can never refind her.
This is a rough, simplified plot synopsis, but the movie is much more complex than this, and it requires repeated viewings to enhance understanding. The repeated viewings are extremely rewarding, as this film is one of those art objects from which the viewer can draw new insights with each reexperiencing of it.
The cinematography is beautiful, and the musical score is absolutely superb and moving, underscoring the emotions felt by the characters. The music is designed to enhance our experience of each scene and to intensify emotion. Granted, the film is not an easy one to follow. Personally, I felt confused at times, especially on a first viewing. But at such moments you can just let yourself go with the emotion carried through image and sound.
"2046" rewards us with a beautiful and talented cast. I really enjoyed watching all the actresses that paraded on screen, among them Zhang Ziyi, of "Hero" and "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon," Gong Li, Carina Lau, Faye Wong and Maggie Cheung, all of them giving superb performances.
As other reviewers have noted, it is not mandatory to see the prequel "In the Mood for Love" to understand "2046," but it is well worth it, as there are many symbols from the previous film repeated in this one, and a scene where Su Lizhen reappears in Chow's memory. Personally, I liked "2046" better.
Finally, I have to add that this film, though from my point of view amazing, is certainly not for everyone. If you prefer a straightforward storyline and a plot where things are happening all the time, then this film is not for you. This film emphasizes emotional experience at the expense of plot. As long as you come prepared for this, and with the right expectations, it is a great film, very rewarding and very worthy of repeated viewings.
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on 22 January 2007
Chinese film maker Wong Kar Wai weaves a stylish web of romance and fantasy in this somewhat disjointed story about a writer whose fiction begins where his life leaves off--or vice versa. Starring Tony Leung, who played Broken Sword in Yimou Zhang's Hero (2002), as Chow Mo Wan, the writer, and Ziyi Zhang as Bai Ling, the vulnerable and gorgeous prostitute, "Two Oh Four Six" mystifies as it beguiles. Worth watching just as eye candy and to hear the music in the background, 2046 appropriately enough moves between Hong Kong and Singapore, two great Asian economic tigers, and then into the future which will be (let's face it folks) Chinese, very Chinese.

This is the first of Wong Kar Wai's films that I have seen. He reminds me a little of Yimou Zhang in that he strives for beauty in his production, in the sets, the scenes and the costumes. His interiors are darker than Zhang's and his scenes are more cosmopolitan, and unlike Zhang he does not aim to make any kind of social statement. There's a touch of American film noir in his story that focuses on Chow, the existential man who makes his living by writing newspaper articles and mass market fiction while meeting and pleasing the ladies, especially the ladies of the evening. Tony Leung's easy charm and confident manner make him a natural for the part, an deeply introspective man who likes the night life. I thought it was interesting--and maybe this is just me--that he looked a bit like Clark Gable with that thin moustache and surefooted way with women.

Ziyi Zhang is fascinating to watch, but so are the other actresses, including Li Gong who has a modest part as Su Li Zhen, prostitute turned professional gambler, and Jie Dong and Faye Wong who play different aspects of Wang Jie Wen. The sense I get from Chow's point of view is a succession of beautiful women moving before his eyes and in his memory, women he had loved but somehow never possessed. As he says, "Love is all a matter of timing. It's no good meeting the right person too late or too soon."

One of the ideas touched upon here is that of the android lover. I have little doubt that once humans are able to create life-like androids or robots, one of the first enterprises will be to make them experts at pleasing people sexually. Another idea is that of impermanence, of time as our master, of time as fickle and malevolent with change as our enemy. Everybody wants to go to 2046 and never return because nothing ever changes in 2046. Or so it is said because nobody really knows since nobody ever returned from 2046--except Chow. We can guess he returned to find somebody in the past, to recapture something he missed.

In this way, Wong Kar Wai plays with time and human emotions. The result is a gorgeous movie that transcends cultures and leaves the viewer wondering what is real and what is make believe. Here's a question, where is that country from which no one returns? Is such a place a metaphor? And for what? Here it is from Shakespeare's Hamlet: "The undiscover'd country from whose bourn/No traveler returns..." This is from the "To be or not to be" speech, and that country is death.
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This film seems very disjointed and at first you're not too sure if you're watching a futuristic sci-fi feature, or love story. Although the latter is more on-the-mark, this feeling of disorientation is key to the way the film strings along many individual moments to build up a small web of characters.

This is the third film in a series and many of the themes carry through. I've not seen the previous films, (they aren't strictly 'prequels') so I can't say if they would have added anything to the experience. The number 2046 carries the weight of significance throughout the film; Chow Mo-Wan, a womanising pulp fiction writer uses his life experiences to author a series of adult books, and to create a semi biographical story set in the year 2046. 2046 is the room number he used to conduct an affair many years ago, and is the room number he finds himself and his former lover in after a chance meeting. When Chow finds himself in room 2047, this symbolises him moving on, but he still frequents room 2046.

Chow becomes involved with several ladies, but most intriguing is his relationship with Bai Ling, the beautiful escort girl with whom a mutual agreement is made for them to satisfy their lust for each other. It becomes clear that Bai harbours more than just physical attraction for him and the relationship turns stale as Chow seems to enjoy making her jealous. His feeling towards women seems cold and you sympathise for Bai.

Another prolific relationship begins with a daughter of his landlord. She is a budding writer and a fan of his 2046 serial. They work together and a sequel 2047 begins.

The film seems to implode at moments and a tangible 25 minutes or so of scenes which run fluidly becomes a confused amalgamation of what has been, and what is yet to come. The imagery is striking, lots of slow scenes where you start to think if the image is paused. Evocative and keeping you on your toes to concentrate are the main features of this film. The re-union between Chow and Bai is the the moment where we see if Chow really has, or can, move on from his past.

In a nutshell: The film looks beautiful, and through insights into the private lives of the characters, and their history - they have depth. These two things make the film watchable, even if it does sometimes feel like it drags. I'd love to give this 4 stars (in terms of atmosphere and artistic direction this is a 5 star film) but I'm opting for three as I feel as though there was something lacking from not watching the previous film "In the Mood for love". However, I did enjoy the film and look forward to returning to it in the future.
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on 31 August 2005
I am not sure that I can reach the intellectual heights of some the previous reviews - however, I found it an intensely moving film. Wonderful acting all around - but in particular, Tony Leung (as always), Zhang Ziyi and Faye Wong really hold the heart of the film. You do not need to have seen the previous film to enjoy this, but it will deepen your understanding - the repeated imagery from In the Mood for Love (a hand on a balustrade, a figure against a wall, cavities for telling secrets into) was one of the key pleasures of the film for me. The film looks wonderful - both the parts set in the 60s and the futuristic segments - and will reward multiple viewings. Put simply, one of my favourite films of the last few years.
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on 30 April 2009
Not as good as the excellent In The Mood For Love but it was interesting to see what happened to Chow Mo-wan after the loss of Su Li-Zhen in that film. The cinematography and soundtrack are superb throughout but the plot does drag in quite a few places. I was hoping for more from this...
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 14 December 2015
It somehow doesn’t surprise me that top Hong Kong-Chinese film-maker Wong Kar-Wei has seemingly struggled for inspiration since this 2004 consummate piece of cinema. 2046 – variously In The Mood For Love’s room number for Chow’s unrequited love affair or (here) the same character’s fictional place (or state of mind) where love can be regained – revisits all of Wong’s established cinematic themes of time, memory, identity, chance and (perhaps most centrally) their impact on unrequited love and, by recalling characters from In The Mood For Love and Days Of Being Wild (as well as casting Chungking Express’ Faye Wong again here), Wong creates a kind of composite kaleidoscope of (arguably) his most important cinema to this point. Given Wong’s penchant for oblique imagery and lack of respect for conventional chronology, you (well, I, at least) need your wits about you when seeing 2046 for the first time and the impact (and understanding?) of the film will probably benefit from some familiarity with the earlier Wong films, however, ultimately, the film also stands alone as a(nother) powerful (and, typically, brilliantly cinematic) elegy to unfulfilled love and longing.

Wong takes us on another exquisite journey, turning the emotional (and gender) tables somewhat, as Tony Leung’s Chow Mo-wan is back in 1960s Hong Kong, some years after his failed love affair with (the original) Su Li-zhen, and now (as a reaction to doomed love?) gallivanting as a cynical lothario and budding writer of steamy novels, holed up in hotel room no. 2047 (2046 being renovated). Despite his best efforts, however, Chow cannot insulate himself fully from the impact of matters of the heart – whether it be the destabilising effect of broken love on Faye Wong’s vulnerable waif, Wang Jing-wen, the physical temptation of Zhang Ziyi’s 'reluctant flirt’, call-girl Bai Ling, or the 'luck of the draw’ (in love) encapsulated in flashback via Chow’s 'brief encounter’ with Gong Li’s gambler, (the other) Su Li-zhen. Once again, Wong outdoes himself here with more stunning production design, imagery, and mise-en-scène (brought to the screen via Christopher Doyle’s superlative cinematography), blended with another hauntingly lyrical soundtrack (comprising the mesmerising main theme by Shigeru Umebayashi, plus the likes of Nat King Cole, Bellini, Dean Martin and Zbigniew Preisner) to provide a true cinematic feast. Leung is once again the 'height of cool’ (even more so here as the 'reluctant romantic’), but the real acting star here – in addition to the delightful Wong and a nice comedic turn from Siu Ping-lam as Chow’s pal, Ah Ping – is Zhang, whose turn as the initially feisty (and eventually jealous and heartbroken) Bai Ling is something of a revelation.

The other inventive thread here is that of Wong’s 'film within a film’ - Chow’s latest 'science-fictional’ work depicting 'the place’ 2046, populated by female androids and used to great metaphorical effect to represent another take on the distancing (via 'delayed robotic reaction’) and inaccessibility of love. Wong’s film is arguably not as perfect a whole as either Chungking Express or In The Mood For Love, but there is so much to admire here that 2046 finishes a close third.

The Tartan Cinema DVD also includes a number of extras, including interviews with Wong and Zhang.
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