Starring: Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Zhang Ziyi, Faye Wong
Director: Wong Kar Wai
Running Time: 129 mins
2046 is a Hong Kong film about the numerous women who enter the life of a struggling sci-fi author over the course of a few years, as he wrestles with the memories of the one he considers his true love.
Just like always with Wong Kar Wai, 2046 is an incredibly stylish and beautifully-made film that’s a lot harder to crack than it may seem at first. Its excellent performances are vital to making it an engaging watch, but Wong’s direction is always brilliant to witness. Meanwhile, its impressively original story is very captivating, and ties in nicely to Wong’s previous romantic dramas.
I’m going to start off with what I think makes this film a really memorable watch: the look. In The Mood For Love is a beautifully slick and stylish drama, but 2046 goes the extra mile by mixing the same sort of intense imagery from Wong’s previous film with some more artificial and futuristic colours.
So, there is a lot of the same sort of slow-motion shots played along with a elegant yet slightly haunting classical score, and we see the various women in the film wear a lot of the same sort of clothes and act in a similar way to Maggie Cheung in In The Mood For Love. However, with the various shots of an imaginary future, combined with Zhang Ziyi’s character’s neon eye shadow and dazzling outfits, give the film an even more potent and lasting image, which was absolutely brilliant to see.
Meanwhile, the performances here are excellent too. Tony Leung Chiu-wai is brilliantly slick in the lead role, and makes for a perfect anti-hero that’s clearly not the cleanest person morally speaking, but so suave and likable that you can’t help but be on his side. He contrasts fantastically with the various women in the film, most notably Zhang Ziyi, whose fiery performance is great to watch at every moment, and adds significantly to the some of the film’s most emotionally captivating moments.
Now, as far as the story goes, I can safely say that this is an engaging and entertaining watch. Its original blend of sci-fi and romantic drama makes for interesting watching, whilst the various relationships that we cover are great too. If there is one problem, however, I felt that the story occasionally lacked a little bit of true emotional substance.
I don’t want to use the phrase style over substance, simply because the style is so good, but there were times in this film when I wasn’t fully gripped by the characters as proper human beings, and wasn’t able to feel so passionate about the fate of the romances depicted, rather feeling a little detached from them, which was a little disappointing to see.
Overall, 2046 is a very strong film. Above all, it’s absolutely beautiful to look at, but the excellent performances play a big role in making it an engaging watch, and its original story that mixes two genres works very well too. Its plot may not be the most emotionally thrilling, but on the whole, it’s still a very good film, which is why I’m giving it a 7.6.