Yongene Wong’s review published on Letterboxd:
When I first watched this film I really didn't enjoy it at all; it was probably bordering on hate, and I felt very strongly about that, as Wong Kar Wai was (and still is) my favourite director. But I think the reason why I disliked 2046 in my first viewing so much but have just fallen in love in the second viewing is because in the first viewing I had just watched many of Wong Kar Wai's other films, and I was trying to find any semblance of his signature style like his energetic style from some of his 90s films like Fallen Angels, Chungking Express and Happy Together, but I was just getting none of it. I had just missed the point - the point of 2046 (and to quote Christopher Nolan's Tenet) is not really to understand it, but to feel it. A quote that fits right at home in a film by Wong, but not Nolan's own emotionless mess.
2046 is by no means Wong's most perfect or polished film - far from it. But what it lacks in perfection it makes up for in pure emotion. Wong has such a great understanding of emotion, and 2046 is probably one of the most emotional experiences I've ever had in film. People move in and out of the picture, back and forth, left to right. Filmed on a wide-screen ratio of 2:35:1, it almost feels claustrophic. It makes the way characters move next to each other and past each other, the way they talk and kiss intimately and the way they cry and shout so confined and enclosed, almost as if they are slowly being cramped into a small room, never to escape their sorrows and feelings of longing.
And its just a film about that. A film about that longing, that sorrow, that sense of nostalgia. That relationship that once existed, but never will ever again. That friend you used to talk to every day, chatting and laughing with that you'll never see again. That person you walk past on the street, touching shoulders. Will you ever meet again? If we walked past each other on a different day, at a different time, would things have been different? Wong captures this feeling perfectly and encapsulates it in such a beautifully melancholic way that one can't describe with words. From the music that plays from one corner of the room to the other referencing Wong's past films to Chow's 2046, the mood that Wong creates is one of great longing and sadness. The feeling of losing something, and knowing that you'll be losing it for a long time. Perhaps forever. The feeling of knowing that things will never be the same again. Moments will eventually repeat, but never in the exact same way again.
Perhaps things will never be the same again. But we all board 2046 looking for the past, looking for something mysteriously lost somewhere on our journey. We board 2046 for that craving of nostalgia. And maybe we board 2046 to hope that we can relive that moment - but on the right day, in the right moment, and in the right time, so that maybe, just maybe, things could've gone right.