Saturday, August 20, 2005

2046 (Wong, 2004)

First of all -- like plenty others have observed -- the film is gorgeous. From the costumes, to the sets, to the way the film is lovingly crafted and pieced together, to the astonishingly beautiful cast, 2046 is a treat for the eyes. It also has a nifty premise ... that people travel to 2046 in order to recapture lost memories. At the beginning of the film, I was a little unsure whether 2046 was supposed to be an actual year, the name of a place, a metaphor, a state of mind, what? But as the film progressed, it seemed to seemed to me that it was all those things combined and I liked that. This is not a Back to the Future-like film where 2046 is littered with in-jokes and pop culture references. Wong elegantly leaves his film open-ended. It's easy to see why so many people have responded passionately to this film. Wong leaves plenty of breathing room to allow viewers to make their own connections and create a film experience that is intimate and personal. But for me, 2046 promises just a little bit more than it actually delivers.

The subject seems to be the elusive nature of lasting love. Characters flirt and tease and attempt to outmaneuver one another. When they do have sex, it is with unusual conditions or caveats. As Tony Leung's character bounced around from beautiful woman to beautiful woman, I found each individual scene to be of mild interest, but never really got the sense that anything of great consequence was at stake. I was left to admire the film's beauty, but never felt truly invested. What do all these individual scenes add up to? For me, not much.

Surely, many will have a transcendent experience and have detailed theories about how 2046 is the afterlife or the human soul or something like that; but, from my perspective, the characters and their relationships were so romanticized that I found it difficult to imagine how they could have anything to do with me. Nor did I find much in the dialogue that struck me as particularly profound or challenging. Hence I was left to admire 2046 much like I would a finely crafted urn. I admired the beauty and craftsmanship, but did not feel especially moved. Wong has formulated a delightful device for presenting his romantic vignettes; I only wish he had more to say. Still, there is no doubt that this film should be seen and admired ...



Post a Comment

<< Home