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August 21, 2005

2046

2046 / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usTony Leung ("Hero", "In the Mood for Love", "Happy Together", "Chunking Express") reprises his role of melancholy loner Chow Mo Wan in Kar Wai Wong's latest slow motion drama, "2046". In the semi-sequel to Wai's "In the Mood for Love", Chow, devastated by the loss of Maggie Cheung at the end of the previous movie, takes refuge in womanising, drinking, gambling, and writing sci-fi erotica for a living against the backdrop of troubled Hong Kong in the 1960s.

In an effort to forget his lost love and numb his broken heart, Chow goes through women like tissues, including an ice-cold Cambodian refugee with a shadowy past played by the exquisitely ravishing Li Gong ("Farewell my Concubine", "Raise the Red Lantern"), and alcoholic call girl Ziyi Zhang ("Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", "Hero", "House of Flying Daggers"). It isn’t until he helps other-worldly Faye Wong ("Chunking Express") reunite with her estranged Japanese boyfriend (Takuya Kimura, see below) that he begins on a path of redemption and resignation to his loveless fate.

2046 / Image Hosted by ImageShack.us"2046" wanders all over the place and goes on far to long. In that respect is perfectly faithful to its subject matter: mending a broken heart takes one to strange places and takes far longer than one can stand. Outstanding performances from Leung (no one can do sad lone wolf like him) and Ziyi, who finally gets a chance to do much more than fly through the air and beat up evil-doers, and gorgeous art direction save the movie in it moodily tedious bits. Happiness is elusive, Wai tells us, but you can only find it by going forward, not by holding back.