My most anticipated film of the summer, 2046 did not disappoint (warning: the site takes almost as long to load as the movie did to get its U.S. release).
I suspect the word "gorgeous" was first invented in anticipation of Wong Kar Wai's latest offering. He drenches the screen with lush colors—from pomegranate red to vivid bottle glass green, lovingly lights and cleverly frames amazingly beautiful women (Gong Li and Ziyi Zhang are breathtaking and heartbreaking in their roles) and steeps the film's longing mood with music interludes ranging from opera to a past Latin hit parade. Lead actor Tony Leung does his best Clark Gable as a struggling fiction writer and Don Juan whose search for love seems half-hearted and broken-hearted at the same time. He and the stories he pens thread together the flashbacks of Hong Kong and Singapore in the 1960s and futuristic glimpses of android affection.
There are many things reminiscent of Wong Kar Wai's lovely film In the Mood for Love here—the saturated color palette, star-crossed love, 1960s Hong Kong, Nat King Cole and Leung and Cheung to name a few—but any similarities are reassuring versus redundant.* While the story is thinner in this film, there is enough pathos and passion to carry the viewer through, leaving one sated and starved for more at the same time. Ahh, cinematic bliss.
*Addendum: After reading press on this film after seeing it, I've finally been enlightened that 2046 is a sequel of sorts to In the Mood for Love, featuring the same male lead character who is trying to replace his lost love from the first film. Sure didn't seem like the same bloke to me. I remember the ITMFL character as meek, sensitive and anything but manipulative. I guess romantic disappointment does funny things to a guy.