2046: not your run-of-the-mill sequel, this Wong Kar Wai film does not even truly assume itself as one until late in the game (the director, after all, has a history of playfully reusing character names and events). But one it is, and a beautiful continuation of the story started earlier, as the fragmented relationships of the male protagonist with four different women reveal how that story shaped him. Tony Leung Chiu-wai, now playing a smooth, almost careless playboy, gives yet another fine performance. Gong Li (as a mysterious gambler), Zhang Ziyi (as a mercurial woman), Faye Wong (as a romantic girl), and Carina Lau Kar-ling (as a jealous singer) play the very distinct woman he meets. Not unexpectedly, the film showcases top-notch visual work (shot by Christopher Doyle, Lai Yiu-fai, and Kwan Pun-leung; edited by William Chang Suk Ping, who again triples his duties as costume and production designer) and with the music (beautiful original score by Umebayashi Shigeru, as well as many licensed songs, particularly “Siboney”). Its poetic rhythm and fragmented storytelling may be challenging at times, but this is a rewarding film to watch.
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