The story evolves around the main character, Zhou Mo Wan who writes a novel about a mysterious train that leaves for a place called 2046 every once in a while. Everyone who boards that train has the same intention - which is to recapture their lost memories. It is said that in 2046, nothing ever changed. Nobody knows for sure if it was true, because nobody who went there had ever come back- except for one. He had been there but He chose to leave. He wanted to change.Written by
2046 was also the number of the apartment that Tony Chiu Wai Leung's character Chow Mo-wan lived in, in Kar-Wai Wong's "In the Mood for Love". See more »
I don't get it. Were does all that fun get you? If you find the right person, why waste time on the others?
Chow Mo Wan:
If I find the right person? A man like me has nothing much except free time. That's why I need company.
So people are just time fillers to you?
Chow Mo Wan:
I wouldn't say that. Other people can borrow my time to.
And tonight? Are you borrowing me, or am I borrowing you?
Chow Mo Wan:
No difference. Maybe I borrowed you earlier, now you're borrowing me.
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Chinese version is edited for sexuality in the Ziyi Zhang/Tony Leung love scene. See more »
Monumental amounts of superlative-driven rhetoric and print have been bestowed on this recent avant garde release, a product more than three years in the making and shrouded in much mystery to boot. Wong Kar Wai's penchant for delivering indie goodness to the continuously uninitiated (and with his movies even aficionados often find themselves groping in the dark) has concocted a veritable legion of filmographic brevity, but with 2046 many of his breathless admirers will discover a more sedate manner of expression, as well as an increased sense of cohesion and sensibility. Overall, it has been a worthwhile wait, especially for those keen on getting whatever the frequently obscure movie maker wants to impart.
2046's name comes from several sources, all originating with its main protagonist, one Zhou Mu Yun. This fellow, done by dapper Tony Leung (Liang Chao Wei), has been a Wong Kar Wai staple since In the Mood For Love, and now returns to the screen, reprising his previous appearance as a speakeasy socialite skirting the journalist's haphazard life in 1960's Hong Kong. Zhou sits down to write a sci fi piece inspired by his own experiences with various women of differing dispositions. As a consequence, we delve into a tale known simply as 2046, either due to the year when it takes place (Hong Kong's last as a polity separate from mainland China, according to the British-Chinese agreement), or the hotel room where some of Zhou's objects d'art reside.
Irrespective of your own take on the film, 2046 has much to offer and seldom complicates matters as do many of Wong's older entries, a la Chongqing Express, Fallen Angles and Ashes of Time. The project does away with blurry action sequences, erratic time flow and vague narrative. Instead, it deploys an intelligible unfolding of events and masterful appearances from several cast members, albeit in a somewhat quirky fashion unavoidable in a fabrication of this nature.
As you may recall, we had plenty of reports extolling 2046's virtues as a tribute to legendary cyberpunk icon Blade Runner, and while the two items in question have much to put them apart, definitely one can spot quite the homage in the newer release. For starters, it opens with a CGI-rendered glimpse of futuristic Hong Kong, brimming with skyscrapers and glitzy neon signs. But beyond this, 2046 discusses the subjectivity of memory, and how it generates our very lives.
Throughout the movie, viewers find themselves wondering whether indeed it's Mr. Zhou sitting down to compose a work of fiction, or perhaps his 21st century alter ego (played by a slightly annoying Takuya Kimura) holds the reigns, struggling with recollection's manipulative potential. Furthermore, 2046 adds synthetic humanoids serving those in search of enlightenment or oblivion in the near future, thus referencing Blade Runner's infamous Nexus 6 replicates and their love-hate relationship with uncaring human masters.
Storywise, Wong kept 2046 open to interpretation with regards to content. What can't be argued with comes in the shape of great input from two of the celebs on hand, namely Zhang Ziyi and Faye Wong. The former steals the limelight and holds it like a maddened monopoly through her depiction of sultry Bai Ling, a desperately lonely party girl who falls for Zhou Mu Yun's affable charm but ultimately realizes how marginal a position she holds in his ecstatic, lust-filled world. The latter, at long last shedding much needed light on Faye Wong's acting range, returns to the good girl next door element she did in Chongqing Express, plus adds a touch of sophistication via her double duty as an android host on a train heading for 2046's titular, but all the same unknown, destination.
Other female cameos include solid additives from Gong Li, Dong Jie and always-competent Carina Lau (Liu Jia Ling). Each figures into Zhou's tapestry of misadventure and nighttime hijinx, fueling the man's imagination and scribing events in his fervently philosophical pseudo-future. Unfortunately, an irritating problem with 2046 must be its top billing of people who only put in miniscule screen time, like Zhang Zhen (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), and Maggie Cheung herself, flickering before our astonished eyes for mere seconds before disappearing. Those following the above mentioned religiously have a major disappointment coming their way.
Not so for the rest of us, who can kick back and commence earnest analysis of the film's possible layers of meaning and intent. As added bonuses, genuinely funny moments thanks to Zhang Ziyi's superb capacity for tongue-in-cheek excellence, and generally impressive production values contribute to a combination likely to pique your interest and sustain it. This belongs among Wong Kar Wai's best yet, exhibiting maturity, intellectual intrigue and earthy sentimentalism, or in other words, something for everyone possessing mind and soul.
Rating: * * * *
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