2046 ★★★½

Like Days of Being Wild, this one is a grower as well. But in this case, my feeling grows from indifference to something of a mild affection. Minority opinion as it may be, but I feel like Wong Kar-Wai's precision from In the Mood for Love has turned into something so repetitive to the point of being debilitating, at times approaching a parody of his own style. I think it's not a coincidence either that I have this feeling about the first work of his that comes with a two-hour running time.

Still, being Wong Kar-Wai, the film's moments of visual beauty capturing exquisite moods remain startling and powerful, if spread thinner than usual. But this time, a Wong Kar-Wai film has the characters and their performers become the most sensational aspect for once, picking the slack and helping the film stick in my mind long after it's over. The connections between this and past films in the trilogy (Days of Being Wild and In the Mood for Love) are tantalizing, and seeing some of the old characters again add poignancy to the story.

Tony Leung is a superb anchor, a charismatic playboy whose past leaves him deeply lonely. But the film's most melancholic power resides in a new character, Zhang Ziyi's Bai Ling, whose arc we are the most empathic to, and whose Ziyi's performance brings out the conflicting nature of tough exterior and deep vulnerability with utmost poignancy. The film's last scene between her and Tony Leung is quietly and greatly devastating, and her face in those moments will likely stay with you long after the film ends.

Peng liked these reviews