Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes is a single shot comedy that warps time itself
If you’re the sort of person who once owned The Director’s Series DVDs and poured over hours of ’90s-’00s music videos, skip this review and just go rent the film. This is exactly the sort of visual storytelling you missed from folks like Michel Gondry. You don’t need any further details to have a great time.
[A brief pause for folks to exit.]
Hello everyone else! Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes is a time travel comedy about what happens when you’re stuck between the future and the past—and about defying fate. The small, cellphone filmed indie film was a huge hit in its home country of Japan, and after a tour on the film festival circuit, is available to everyone today on video on demand.
Cafe owner Kato (Kazunari Tosa) lives a quiet life. He occupies the apartment directly above his business, has a quiet crush on the waitress working in the French bistro next door, and spends his free time playing acoustic guitar in a band with his pal.
One night, after closing up shop and heading home, he sits down to play some music, but cannot find his guitar pick. His computer lights up, and a version of him from the future reveals where the pick has fallen.
Just about the lowest stakes imaginable for a time travel story.
As Kato begins to interact with Future Kato, who is broadcasting from a computer in the cafe below, it is revealed that Future Kato exists two minutes beyond Current Kato. Current Kato rushes down to the cafe, and finds himself broadcasting to a version of himself looking for a guitar pick, back in his apartment.
Now we’re getting somewhere.
The premise is simple: the character we are following in the present is both two minutes behind a future version of himself that he can interact with, and two minutes ahead of a past version of himself, for whom he must recreate the exact same interactions in order to keep time-space from fracturing.
As Kato repeatedly races back and forth between his residence and his business, more and more of his extended friend group wind-up involved in the looping game, which spirals into a mixture of hilarious pranks and disastrous results.
The tight 70-minute movie is filmed in a single, unbreaking shot. Director Junta Yamaguchi’s visual puzzle has drawn comparisons to—and praise from—Shinichiro Ueda’s stellar One Cut of the Dead.
It’s the perfect pandemic film, in that a tiny crew and a small cast were able to knock a budget masterpiece out of the park, while bouncing around a single location. For all of the media created in the last few years that feels the need to incorporate solitude or disease as a central plot point, Two Minutes simply filmed a tight story within safe circumstances.
In the first act, the movie spends too long trying to reiterate the central premise as new characters keep joining the core group. By the time it hits its stride, it is well worth the slow build-up.
Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes is available on VOD today.