Certified critic on Rotten Tomatoes. Member of the Houston Film Critics Society. Also writes for Bounding Into Comics and GeeksHaveGame.
It's Super Sci-Fi!
Between the Infinite Two Minutes was a part of Fantaspoa 2021.
Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes takes place entirely within a single café and the owner’s apartment above it. The television upstairs and the one in the café are connected by a two-minute time-delay; upstairs being two minutes in the future and downstairs being in the present. Kato, the café owner, is seen talking to himself by his employee Megumi. The sensational time paradox is then shown to regular café customers Komiya, Tanabe, and Ozawa. Referred to as “Time TVs,” Kato and his friends soon realize that time travel is something that shouldn’t be toyed with.
Directed by Junta Yamaguchi with a story by Makoto Ueda, Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes stars Kazunori Tosa, Aki Asakura, Riko Fujitani, Gota Ishida, Suwa Masashi, and Yoshifuma Sakai. It’s a low budget film starring a cast of unknowns directed by a guy who doesn’t have a ton of film credits to his name. All of that factors in to why Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes is so great.
The film appears to be shot in one-take with possible hidden cuts occurring whenever someone uses the stairs. You witness both sides of the conversation, which usually begins upstairs as the characters talk to their future selves. Then they all rush downstairs to talk to their past selves via the appropriate television set. How did Komiya get a bottle of ketchup in his pocket and why is everyone wearing blankets on their heads? These are the types of questions that are generally answered within a two minute time frame.
The unfortunate aspect is that the film’s formula becomes slightly redundant. Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes only has a 70-minute duration, but repeatedly seeing both sides of the same conversations loses its enthusiasm the more you witness it throughout the film. There’s an art form to the filmmakers and cast putting the film together though. Having everything seemingly match up had to be extremely meticulous and frustrating to get exactly right.
A time loop is the overall concept of the film, but it also isn’t a proper time loop. The characters usually talk to their future selves, then go downstairs and talk to their past selves. But the past and future versions of these characters never meet or bump into each other going up and down the stairs.
As the film progresses, the desire to see where this new time paradox takes everyone is stretched further and further and everyone besides Kato continuously gets greedier. Two minutes suddenly isn’t enough of a time jump and some of the supposed certainties associated with fate are broken. Kato is the only one trying to be the voice of reason. He is consistently suggesting that they should stop messing with time and to just go home and forget about it, but nobody listens.
You can probably guess where a film like this is going to go, but the fact that Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes accomplishes so much with so little is what makes it so outstanding. It’s rather mind numbing to think about how each sequence was plotted and filmed. It seems like rather precise blueprints would have to be created and followed with the utmost precision just to get the right shot. The film only taking place within two rooms is a brilliant choice since roaming around in the outside world would only make the actual completion of filmmaking more difficult.
Much like how the characters learn to utilize the TVs in a Droste effect to stretch how far they can see in time, Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes makes up for its lack in budget with a fantastically creative execution that only seems to get more innovative with each passing minute. The humor lies within the character’s reactions to their newfound ability to time jump, which only get more energetic and rambunctious with each phenomenal discovery.
© 2021 Chris Sawin