‘Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes’ is a Japanese sci-fi flick and follows up to the delightful film ‘One Cut of the Dead’ from Junta Yamaguchi. This fantastic piece of motion art was entirely shot on an iPhone by the Kikaku theatre group in one continuous shot written by Makoto Ueda.
‘Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes’ is the quagmire situation of being stuck in a continuous-time loop. We meet Kato, a straightforward man leading a pretty simple life as a coffee shop owner and a budding musician who has a soft spot for the woman who works in the store next door. It’s the end of the business day, and he leaves his employee to lock up as he heads upstairs to his apartment. Once in his house, his computer screen starts talking to him, but it is himself on the monitor. The mirror image on the screen tells Kato that he is two minutes from the future. Somewhere along the movie, there is another monitor in the café downstairs which looks at Kato’s two minutes in his past.
The whole feature is generally about the economy right from the time, space, premise and character packed with tons of gimmicks. The feature kicks in fun by showing audiences repeatedly how the two-minute time TV wormhole scenario plays out. We excitedly follow the characters as they pace up and down between the present and future versions and effectively enjoy the same several conversations two times, something that is intentionally done so that audiences can understand the logic. One would expect this to be boring and tasking, but interestingly, it is quite the opposite as the filmmakers and the cast keeps things fresh and pumped.
At some point, the gimmicks start to get pretty dull, but Yamaguchi spices things up by introducing a third time frame, the past. The switching among the timeframes keeps creating new twists and turns as the characters constantly mess with time rules. Its layers and layers of storytelling, though at some point, it feels like a stage play. While some events feel over the top in some instances, acting sometimes feels overdone, but it is still decent and exciting without over elaborating.
However, the discovery is perplexing when the characters get accustomed to the charms of the two-minute time loop and decide to push the envelope a little and see how far they could get. Their efforts throughout the film clearly display witty writing that offers just enough details to keep things nice and tight while also revealing new and volatile possibilities. One thing worth mentioning is that as it is expected of human beings whenever they are involved in various circumstances, their sneak peeks into the future spiral out of their control with intriguing and often hilarious results.
The script is not only smartly done, but it is also amusing. The actors jump right in, fully embodying the characters and getting engulfed in the absurdity of it all. All these exaggerated performances are interesting and likable. One is curious to see what they are going to do and how they will get themselves out of this weird situation. The dialogue isn’t the best; however, it could have been basically a case of messages being lost in translation. The film is also not really broad, but the comedic acting works its magic. The audiences find themselves entangled in the whole scenario, laughing and cheering them on as they delightfully try to figure things out.
The summer score that plays during the film’s opening feels kind of out of place as it sounds like some accordion music; however, later on in the movie, the simple electronic beats boost the mood as the latter is more in line with the theme of the movie. Towards the end of the feature, there is some slightly goofy stuff going on, and the ending is pretty unsatisfying.
Amid all the gags are some really deep thoughts. The themes highlighted in this flick aren’t new concepts; however, the uniqueness comes in the way it is all delivered. Being able to see the future regardless of the time allowed leads the team to feel obligated to match that future expectation. They are worried and afraid of contradicting what they have already seen as their tomorrow in the next two minutes, and they find themselves having to make choices they do not make under normal circumstances. As the future timeframe tightens, we see characters held in place by deeds in the past and tries to pass across the crucial message that many human beings find themselves haunted by their past, scared to death by what the future holds and often frozen in place, afraid to move forward or backward.
However, what stands out for this film is not its genius structure nor its wit but the way the character dynamics and underlying themes are handled. The pace is incredibly hectic still; audiences get to learn at least something about the various characters and how they work together as a team and interact with each other. Coming face to face with the future helps Kato face his anxieties head-on, becoming less intimidated by change and finally getting ready to re-evaluate his priorities proving that one doesn’t need to be a pessimist to be innovative and sometimes what human beings need the most is to simply look at what is right in front of their eyes.
‘Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes’ is a friendly, warm, hilarious and intelligent sci-fi flick. It’s a story about time travel addressing the modern way of living that pays homage to how vital the current moment is in relation to what has already happened and what is yet to occur. The entire 70 minutes will definitely be worth your time, and make sure you watch till the credits roll as they reveal the magic exposing how everything came together in a behind the scenes treat.