mattmav45’s review published on Letterboxd:
WKW viewings are damn near akin to being stream of consciousness offerings. Characters enter and re-appear, and for the most part ebb and flow with the mood and atmosphere of the film. What makes these viewings so magical is that the ebbs and flows are handled with such nuance, such grace, that the film becomes poetic in nature. Thankfully for the viewer, such is very much the case here.
I've always heard that 2046 is a "loose" sequel to In the Mood for Love, but I'll be damned if I don't think that description is quite accurate. To me, the two form a symbiotic relationship. The unbridled love and whimsical nature of In the Mood for Love is contrasted sharply with the stark reality of 2046. This film deals with the fall-out inherent to heartbreak, but most importantly it gains power from what came before it. You can't have one without the other, plain and simple.
For obvious reasons, this feels more real and quite a bit darker than your typical WKW offering. Granted, it's still full of the style we've all come to expect, but this time there's a bite, an edge to the proceedings. I will say it took some time to fully enrapture me and my senses, but once it did, I was taken away. The film introduces a variety of characters, but it's the way each character is tied to, and handles heartbreak, that makes this viewing so magical.
It's hard to imagine the dethronement of the light-hearted mischievousness of Chungking Express, but I'll be damned if I don't think this 1-2 punch will inevitably do just that. As stated before, in many ways full appreciation of both films cannot be attained until once has completed both viewings. It's akin to putting the last puzzle piece together. I can't wait to re-visit both films in the near future, in quick succession.
Superior WKW cinema.