While it's true that Wai's direction is sturdy and, intermittently, inspired, there's a lot here that doesn't work, and surprisingly, none of the characters seemed well-drawn or nuanced to me. As an exercise in the sort of genre-cum-philosophy found in the best Milkyway films, it frequently excels, and the looseness with which the film plays with its central conceit was mostly interesting and sometimes beautiful.
Grief is dispelled and enhanced through art as characters use stories to bring back loved ones, who write stories of their own for the ones who remain lost even in fantasy. Even Death gets confused after a time. As a director, Wai isn't as skilled as To, but a subtle zoom on a pricked-up ear and anchoring placements show Wai likely earned those co-director credits with To.