This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Lise’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Just some notes about this viewing...
The film seemed disjointed this time around. Probably because I was seeing it with fresh eyes because a friend was watching it with me and it was her first time. I kept thinking that she wouldn't be able to follow, because the cuts were quick in some places, going from one location to another, one context to another, and if you hadn't focused on the décor of a certain room in previous shots you might not know where you were. And place is so important in this film. Or, perhaps place is important precisely because it is so disjointed... You can't even rely on Maggie Cheung's dresses to give you a sense of time because she changes her dresses multiple times per day! I would love to know this film so well that I could tell what she considers "work" clothes vs "going out (to the noodle shop)" clothes.
I noticed that she smiled in a scene that made me wonder just exactly how many times she smiles in the film. I'd guess maybe 2 or 3 times max. But Tony Leung? I'm not sure he smiled even once. I'll have to look for that next time I watch, which will no doubt be when the Criterion box set arrives sometime in March. (oh, the pleasure of upcoming double-bill: re-watching this and 2040 in *blu* for the first time!)
About the final scene in Vietnam, a scene that I have only ever liked once before in all my viewings, I liked it again. I didn't find it as long as I always did. I think I understood that it was such a final gesture for him. He had hoped and waited and finally understood that it wasn't to be, and the wait felt as long as it takes for buildings to become ruins. And that's why the shots at the ruins were long as well. And this time I saw the determination in his eyes after giving away his secret to the ruins. He was done. He had turned. There was no going back. He's done with love. He becomes the character we see in 2046.