I managed to obtain a Hong Kong issued DVD of 2046, rather than going to see it at the cinema, I watched it three times before writing this review. 2046 is a visually complex and beautiful story; as a high concept imagine Brief Encounter and Alfie meets Bladerunner on acid with art direction by Terry Gilliam. The first thing about the film is that you can feel the visual quality of it from the get-go. The plot leaves more questions than answers with recursive themes throughout the plot weaving between the plot of a novel the life of the novelist and including the number two zero four six being a room number, a destination and a year.
The plot starts in the future were trains transverse the globe, some of the time to a destination 2046 where people go to escape loss, hide secrets or try and rectify mistakes and then moves the start of the journey to tell a story of several unrequieted loves in 1960s Singapore and Hong Kong and the damaged object of his desire. In the midst of social chaos, the hero Chow Mo Wan writes a science fiction story about 2046, a place where people go to seek their loved one or times lost. The number 2046, comes from the number of a room in a Hong Kong boarding house.Chow is empty and damaged rather like Michael Caine’s Alfie, but is smoother in a film-noir kind of way. The soundtrack is amazing and really heightens the whole cinematic experience.
The film shows the uninitated that Chinese cinema is much more than wire-work, Peking Opera acrobatics, bad dubbing, Shaolin monks and Kung fu.
The film is a multinational effort, Chinese actors with European photography and a classical and loungecore musical score.