Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes is a mind-melting, time-bending farce that works like a fine tuned juggling act.
After closing his cafe for the night and heading upstairs to his apartment, without any build up, the owner (Kazunori Tosa) discovers that his computer monitor is linked to another monitor in his cafe. He’s further stupefied when the person using the other monitor is himself claiming to be living two minutes ahead of time. When the owner heads downstairs, he meets a past version of himself in the monitor and repeats everything that was just explained to him. This is the time loop that provides the base of Junta Yamaguchi’s extremely entertaining time-travel comedy. Soon enough, friends come over and want to test the limits of the monitor as their ambitious ideas begin to eat away at their reality.
The filmmaker boasts that the movie was made in one consecutive take, but I don’t entirely believe it. There are too many snap pans and zooms into walls that make me doubt this claim. But, I don’t really care compared to how the film accomplished other impossible tasks. What Yamaguchi does an incredible job at doing is defining the time and space of this concept. The narrative takes place within a small window in the evening in a contained location. This offers familiarity to the playful characters who grow used to running back and forth between the monitors, and makes the more unpredictable factors of this story threatening when the cafe takes on different perspectives. The film only oversteps its silliness by incorporating two ambiguous officers who feel tacked on, but add to the movie’s theme of learning how to take control of the future. Even when plot points are too convenient, everything still fits within the absurd context.
Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes, spins a wildly layered narrative that requires precise rehearsal and continuity from its production and actors. There isn’t one missed beat, which is amazing and makes it unlike anything I’ve ever seen. The mechanics of this time manipulation are confusing but, despite how crazy and complicated the loops become, movie goers are still able to follow all the way through to its satisfying conclusion.
As one of the first releases of 2022, Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes sets a high bar for the movies that follow it.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie