2046 Wong Kar-Wai

Four years have elapsed since Wong Kar-wai's In the Mood for Love galvanised the film world, and the joke going around movie head circles was that the title of his follow-up was the year it was going to be released. Well, the long-delayed 2046 has finally hit digital media, and I'm happy to say it was more than worth the wait. Picking up in 1966, several years after Mood left its would-be lovers in the lurch, it finds the man of the relationship, Chow (Tony Leung), in a dissipated state. Now a jaded ladies man living in a Hong Kong hotel during some bad riots and economic stagnation, it chronicles his inability to let go of what might have been, so he dallies with a spitfire prostitute (Zhang Ziyi) and an undiscovered writer (Faye Wong), while he writes science fiction stories based in his deep-seated desire and regret. Of course, the film is more elliptical than a plot summary can relate; it piles up the sweetly agonising details until you collapse under the weight and revel in their velvet surfaces. It's every bit as flawed as you've heard, tentative in what it wants to say and visually lustrous just for the hell of it, but the film needs its flaws to keep Wong's ambition and crazy geometry from seeming too inhumanly crystalline. I can't think of ten movies this year I liked more; rent it twice, then buy three copies. Extras include a "making of" that sidesteps the issue of the film's long gestation, interviews with Wong, Leung and Zhang that go into a little detail, a featurette on the digital design that finally explains the delay, a pointless music montage, a fanatically detailed list of the film's significant numbers, an interactive music feature, and an international poster gallery. (Sony)