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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 10.26%
Just Average: 10.26%
Pretty Crappy: 5.13%
Sucks: 2.56%

3 reviews, 21 user ratings

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by Elaine Perrone

"Heartbreak Hotel."
5 stars

FIRST SCREENED AT SEATTLE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2005. An exquisitely woven tapestry of interconnected lives floating dreamily from present to past to poignantly re-imagined future and back again, writer-director Wong Kar-Wai’s 2046 has been described as a “sort-of” sequel to In the Mood for Love – and, at the same time, a richly satisfying entertainment in its own right, with or without having seen Wong’s previous masterpiece. While there is some truth in both observations, to see 2046 without enjoying the pleasures of In the Mood for Love and its precursor in the loose trilogy, Days of Being Wild, seems to me to be akin to being invited to a sumptuous multi-course banquet and partaking only in the dessert. It is a delicious experience, certainly, but how terrible to squander the opportunity to revel in a sensory feast – in this case, a panoply of interplaying flavors and colors, a glorious array of sights and sounds that feed mind, body, and spirit.

Days of Being Wild, while featuring a different protagonist and storyline, is notable for the introduction of the young Su Li-zhen (Maggie Cheung), who would go on to become the one true love in the life of Chow Mo-wan (Tony Leung Chiu-wai) in In the Mood for Love, the woman who would break his heart and forever color his perception of love and the tone of all his later relationships. Ms. Cheung briefly reprises the role of Su Li-zhen in 2046, as does Carina Lau as exotic dancer Lu Lu, also known as Mimi, who crossed paths with Chow in Singapore, where she shared with him the tale of her own doomed love affair with a Chinese-Filipino man (the late Leslie Cheung’s Yuddy in Days of Being Wild), a “legless bird that [could] never land” – and whose later encounter with Chow on a Christmas Eve in Hong Kong sets in motion his arrival at the Oriental Hotel and his relationships with the two women he meets there, in Room 2046.

(It bears mentioning that Tony Leung’s own one-scene role in Days of Being Wild, that of the gambler Smirk, may or may not have been a younger version of 2046’s Chow, who has returned to Hong Kong after being saved from financial ruin by another Su Li-zhen (Gong Li), a black-gloved Cambodian cardsharp known by the sobriquet “Black Spider” – a second Su Li-zhen with whom he might have had an opportunity for love but who he loses, ironically, in one last gamble that proves him to be tragically unlucky, once again, at love AND cards.)

By the time he arrives at the Oriental Hotel, Chow is a man broken in spirit, a once-respected journalist reduced to eking out a living writing pulp fiction and soft-core porn, a man who once loved passionately but whose life now centers around drinking, gambling, and a never-ending series of emotionless sexual encounters.

Intending to move into Room 2046 – a number of great significance to him – Chow instead takes up residence in Room 2047 and thereby becomes an observer of, and eventually a participant in, the goings-on in the room across the hall.

Early on, Chow encounters Wang Jing-wen (Faye Wong), the daughter of the hotel’s proprietor, who is herself involved in a star-crossed romance with a Japanese man, Tak (Takuya Kimura), to the fury of her father who despises all things – and people – Japanese. At first Jing-wen’s co-conspirator in keeping her romance with Tak alive, Chow eventually enlists her as his collaborator in writing a science-fiction tale of “2046,” a place to which travelers journey on a mysterious train to recapture their lost memories – a place from which no one returns because, it is believed, “nothing ever changes in 2046.”

Later, Bai Ling (an incandescent Zhang Ziyi), a high-class call girl, moves into Room 2046 and embarks upon an affair with Chow. Tragically falling in love with him, she becomes simply another victim of his callous disregard and cruelty.

Like Days of Being Wild and In the Mood for Love, 2046 benefits from the breathtaking cinematography of the peerless Christopher Doyle, whose camera work seems nothing less than some sort of visual sleight-of-hand, with scenes shot through grilles, in claustrophobic corridors and corners, and in mirror-images.

2046 also evokes memories of the earlier films through recalled music – the aptly titled Perfidia and the voice of Nat King Cole – as well as the haunting original score by Peer Raben and Wong’s In the Mood for Love collaborator Shigeru Umebayashi.

As if all this weren’t a glorious enough jolt to the senses, Wong uses a recording of the voice of soprano Angela Gheorghiu as the treacherous Norma invoking the chaste goddess, “Casta Diva,” juxtaposing the relationship between Wang and his own perfidious daughter Jing-wen. Just fabulous!

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=10337&reviewer=376
originally posted: 08/10/05 20:12:41
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Edinburgh Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Edinburgh Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Tribeca Film Festival For more in the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Seattle Film Festival For more in the 2005 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

11/09/14 Anthony Could you transfer $1000 from my current account to my deposit account? <a href=" htt 3 stars
10/23/14 Hannah It's a bad line <a href=" ">order bimatoprost without prescription to ship overnight</a> 5 stars
3/27/07 fools&#9835;gold Visually and musically arresting, and the ideas had remarkable potentials. 4 stars
11/15/06 Brian O'Neill I had to lie down after watching this film for the first time. There were many more times. 5 stars
11/02/06 Pearce Beautiful. Like Godard with a budget. 5 stars
10/19/06 William Goss Ambitious and admirable, but ultimately dense and detached. Some great kisses, though. 3 stars
7/20/06 Stuff Hello! 5 stars
4/30/06 millersxing Space opera set apart by avant garde approach to time and space and delightful visual flair 5 stars
2/10/06 Rocky Hypnotic and mesmerizing, it stirred so many emotional memories within me...WOW. 5 stars
2/03/06 Reklc Beautiful, but not as god as its predecessor, just to messy at times. 4 stars
11/21/05 Reuben Well, it looks great. But it _feels_ about 100 years long: pretty self-indulgent IMHO 2 stars
9/11/05 2046 sucks what a sucks movie with sucks casts 1 stars
8/18/05 rich I wish I read Seaver's review b4 seeing it. Would've helped understand what was going on. 2 stars
5/31/05 Ken sit back and enjoy this cinematic opera 5 stars
5/23/05 conti the new 'citizen kane' 5 stars
5/21/05 Charlene Javier This film left me clueless... 3 stars
5/21/05 Nick Williams Beautiful!! 5 stars
5/16/05 Keanu Reeves Woah! 5 stars
12/07/04 Lily was expecting a little moe than In the mood for Love....but it was still a credible effort. 4 stars
9/30/04 kk could not live up to my expection of In the Mood of love sequel 3 stars
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  05-Aug-2005 (R)
  DVD: 26-Dec-2005



Directed by
  Kar Wai Wong

Written by
  Kar Wai Wong

  Tony Leung Chiu Wai
  Li Gong
  Takuya Kimura
  Faye Wong
  Zhang Ziyi
  Carina Lau

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