Ahmed Aiman’s review published on Letterboxd:
If it wasn't for Faye Wong's sub-plot, including the anime-esque Sci-fi sequences, I would haven't liked 2046. But it's the second half in general that changed my mind completely about the entire film. There are two main reasons I found the first half so underwhelming...
First, I felt that the character of Chow Mo-wan, played as usual by the great Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, is here nothing but a misogynistic scumbag. I was shocked that I found myself loathing this character even more than the purposely detestable character, Yuddy, from Days of Being Wild.
Secondly, and most importantly, is that the film simply didn't seem to be a Wong Kar-wai film to me. His poetic depiction of the themes of love and affection is totally absent here, and replaced with lust that's used as an object; not as a subject. And even the cinematography is so classy and filled with garish over-stylized visuals and colours. Nevertheless, the way Wong Kar-wai uses music to set the mood in his stories of lovers suffering from loneliness is still brilliantly evocative and poignant throughout the film's entire runtime, and as good as it was in all of Wong Kar-wai's film I've seen.
One of the of the highlights of the first half is the character of Bai Ling. Besides the fact that Ziyi Zhang delivered one of the finest performances here, I really found her character to be quite interesting character. And as much as the excessive sex scenes offended me; I liked the how intoxicating her relationships are, since they developed the character pretty well, and made it well-rounded.
The second half is otherwise a pure Wong Kar-wai magic! I was immensely worried that 2046 would be the second Wong Kar-wai film to leave me cold after Fallen Angels (which I like maybe even more than this), I finally found Wong Kar-wai's unique atmospheric mood at its most poetic. The overall theme of the film became completely clear, and I was really impressed by Wong Kar-wai's brilliant script, and how it managed to compensate for the uneven fake and sybaritic first half that I completely failed to be connected with on an emotional level.
The only thing that the second half didn't fix is that the lines, and some of the themes, Wong Kar-wai recycled from his other two films in his unofficial trilogy felt forced, and annoyed me with their lack of authenticity.