2046 ★★★★½

With poetic tangents and multiple realities, 2046 is certainly the least accessible part of Wong Kar-wai's loosely connected trilogy. Still, as strange as its science-fiction digressions may be, it is still an utterly beautiful companion piece to In the Mood for Love, almost as brilliant as the film that preceded it. The cast is a jaw-dropping selection of Hong Kong greats. In addition to a mustachioed Tony Leung, we get Gong Li, Faye Wong, and Carina Lau. Zhang Ziyi absolutely steals the show. I had no idea she had such a heart-melting, brutal performance in her. There's also the guy from SMAP who does surprisingly okay. The cinematography—another spectacular combined effort from Christopher Doyle and Kwan Pung-Leung—and art direction is gorgeous, dripping with reds and greens. The storytelling is fragmented and often keeps its audience at an arm's length, but its ending, wonderfully wrapped up with the world of In the Mood for Love, floored me.

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