2046 (2004) – movie review

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Movie Review by Neils Hesse

Starring: Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Gong Li, Takuya Kimura, Faye Wong, Ziyi Zhang
Director: Wong Kar-Wai

Wong Kar-Wai picks up from where IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE finished and in this sequel continues with the same lead character, Chow Mo Wan as played by Tony Leung. Chow is an out of work journalist working on a novel about a train sometime in the future that takes its passengers to the year 2046 to recapture their memories, hence the title. Suffice to say that Tony Leung plays a very avid, cold-hearted womaniser who breaks the heart of every woman who makes the fatal mistake of falling for him. A beautiful young woman, Bai Ling (Ziyi Zhang) moves into the room next to his and soon enough they get very close with her falling madly in love with him but true to form he turns her down. The film also switches narrative to the imaginary world inhabited by the characters in the novel about the train taking its passengers to 2046.

Director Wong Kar-Wai is renowned for his spectacular visuals, intoxicating soundtracks and his well developed characters. He does not fail to deliver here with a dark and vibrant look to the film, superb acting from his ensemble cast and Nat King Cole is amongst his choice of music.

Tony Leung is excellent here as a charming, cold and guilt ridden man who had love but it eluded him and the experience has left him unable to give love back even when it is offered to him. This would have been a good movie even without Ziyi Zhang but with her it is a masterpiece in its own right. Ziyi Zhang gives a remarkable performance as a girl who cares for nobody until she meets Tony Leung and after initially turning him down finds herself hopelessly in love with him. She manages to capture the transformation of her character from uninvolved professional prostitute to a typical lovesick girl with new found hope and dreams.

This is a sumptuous feast of gorgeous visuals, passionate love and anguish accompanied by an excellent soundtrack that will definitely make you question love all over again.

4 out of 6 stars