Time loops are one of the most well-worn tropes in cinema today. From Groundhog Day to Palm Springs, the key to making it work is a unique twist. This is exactly what Beyond The Infinite Two Minutes has going for it, a story in which a cafe owner inadvertently ends up with a viewport to the future.
Kato (Kazunori Tosa), a cafe owner and struggling musician, feels that he’s at a dead-end in life. Tired after a long day at work, he heads upstairs to his apartment to sleep, but before he can, someone starts speaking to him via his computer: himself. It’s never made clear exactly how this comes to be, but there is a link between his computer and the security monitor in the cafe that comes from two minutes in the future (or, depending on how you look at it, two minutes in the past).
At first, it becomes a source of amusement as Kato, and his friends start having intricate conversations with themselves –conversations that could only be achieved through an incredible amount of planning from the filmmakers and multiple performances of the same script from the performers. Oh, did I mention that the film is presented as one long extended scene (albeit with a few hidden cuts)?
As time goes on, the group figure out that they can see further into the future by placing the two screens face to face, and soon they’ve having conversations with their future selves two and four and six minutes into the past, and then again with their former selves two and four and six minutes in the past. Not much longer after that, they’re using their window into the future for personal gain, and then things (of course) go wrong.
I can’t stress enough what a marvel of planning this film is. Each performer goes through the same scenes and conversations multiple times from multiple perspectives, and it never feels repetitive, and it’s never boring. Sure, there are some hidden cuts, but for long stretches, they really are performing non-stop, and it’s a joy to behold.
In later scenes where they are using the time difference more creatively, this only ramps up more and only becomes more charming. And that’s the film’s great strength: it never doesn’t feel like everyone involved is having a great time telling a fun story.
By the time the story starts to wrap up and the characters arcs begin to resolve, you’ll find yourself wanting to stick with them even more despite having already spent time the same time with them multiple times. Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes is a delight, a novel twist on the time loop setup and a triumph of the kind of scrappy, fun filmmaking that you go to festivals to see. This one is a must-watch.
Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes is playing on-demand as part of the 2021 Fantasia Film Festival through August 25th.
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