Warwick Marshall’s review published on Letterboxd:
'2046' doesn't quite live up to its predecessor ('In the Mood for Love'), though I was surprised and impressed at just how different it was while still feeling like a crucial piece of the narrative. The story follows our male lead from the previous film several years on. Perhaps in an effort to forget the pain and loneliness he feels in regard to the events of the prior film's narrative, he has become a womaniser, refusing to allow himself to become emotionally attached to anyone as not to suffer the same sense of loss and regret.
Despite using many of the same styles and techniques prevalent in 'In the Mood for Love', '2046' feels much more overtly stylised. In addition to re-using frequent frames within the frame, slow motion and a choppy frame-rate in certain scenes (as in the prior film), there is also a fairly bold colour palette primarily featuring envious greens, lustful reds and erotic neon, while also featuring some very noirish lighting. Although this film uses a lot of the same techniques as 'In the Mood for Love', where in that film they were often used to create a sense of longing, in '2046' it instead creates a sense of isolation, loneliness and regret. While our lead feels much more confident and care-free than in the previous film, these techniques make it all too apparent that it is a facade.
The film is overall a statement about memory and our pasts. About how everyone has a past which they are trying to escape from and how you can only truly be ready to love or be loved once you are able to let go or escape. It is also about how these attempts to move on or escape can feel impossible and take an eternity.