2046 (2004)


Emotional film full of sadness and longing and a plot that really isn’t all that coherent but nonetheless works thanks to some beautiful cinematography, some great performances, and some pretty dang sexy love scenes. I’m a romantic at heart, what can I say? But the movie is really very emotional, especially in the middle after things have had a chance to settle down and something resembling a story we can comprehend finally starts to surface. The choppy beginning certainly didn’t do the film any favors, but it was worth it in the end, for the most part. And what great, great performances, especially from lead Tony Leung who is such a great freaking actor. Why isn’t this guy in more stuff? Hire him, damn it!

Like a lot of Asian films, emotion overtakes story here, with narrative being secondary to the emotional and psychological mindset of our main character, and it’s jarring. It’s why the beginning is so choppy; you just don’t know what the hell is going on. There’s nothing to grab on to, nothing to relate with, which is fine but does require some patience on the part of the viewer. Eventually, once the film kicks into gear, it’s pretty great. The story isn’t groundbreaking or anything, but the emotion is so thick, the acting so good, everything just blends together in this grand hypnotic manner that’s difficult to describe. It’s really quite something. Though I didn’t much care for the bizarre slow motion effects here, which looked choppy and not at all like what you’d traditionally expect slow motion to look like. Another staple of Asian cinema, I think. And yeah, the visuals can be a bit “much” at times, but never to the extent of out-and-out melodrama for some reason, probably thanks to said fine, fine acting.

Overall, I enjoyed the film. It didn’t always make a whole lot of sense, especially at the beginning, and once the main middle “thrust” of the film is over it kind of goes back to being somewhat lame and plodding, and the ending is sure to leave a big giant “huh?” hanging over your head, but it’s still good, I say. The sincerity of the emotion here is what matters. Very few films are able to illicit such strong feelings from their audiences, or from me at least, and because of that, it almost doesn’t matter that the plot makes very little sense. This is one of the few times where narrative doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things, because, ultimately, it’s not about the story told, it’s about the emotions conveyed. So, yeah, worth watching, narrative warts and all.

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