Lee Towler’s review published on Letterboxd:
The third and final instalment in Wong Kar-Wai's loose trilogy of films preceded by Days of Being Wild (which I have still yet to see, thankfully still able to follow the movies due to it being a loose trilogy) and In The Mood For Love. I understand there may have been a few characters that appeared in this movie that were previously in Days of Being Wild who's story arcs may have linked, so apologies if I don't completely understand something. Although despite that I feel like I was able to follow the movie without that link, it may have just fleshed it out a little more.
Undeniably Wong's most absolutely stunning piece of work so far, for better or worse the most gorgeous he may ever product - though with his constantly growing standards and keen eye for visuals who knows what he could come out with next. Even with Christopher Doyle not being the cinematographer for the full duration of the movie, only actually doing one third of the movie, it's difficult to notice any difference between his work and newbie Pung-Leung Kwan's replacement. They have both done a wonderful job at bringing the conscious dreamlike haze of Mr. Chow (Tony Leung) to life as well as the subconscious fantasy of his science fiction imagination.
Having only previously seen In The Mood For Love, I can feel the similar themes of lust, sexual frustration and loss as well as narrative continuity involving room 2046 itself which is the room in which Mr. Chow and Mrs. Chan wrote their kung-fu serial. Obviously Mr. Chow makes an appearance across both movies, as well as from what I've read a silent cameo at the end of Days of Being Wild. 2046 loosely continues his story after his life involving Mrs. Chan and I would recommend at least seeing that predecessor before this to fully understand the main character's motives.
Because Wong's movies are heavily involved in its characters and their motives. Some of the strongest scenes he is able to give the audience is one where there is a mystery in what they will do next with a heavy banter of back and forth in the dialogue. It hooks you in with its elegant beauty and holds your attention with the captivating story of lustful romance. 2046 may be his hardest work to follow narratively, but for fans of Wong's other work its definitely a great next film to check out.