Beyond The Infinite Two Minutes is a Japanese sci-fi film that was released in 1982. It follows the story of Shin, an engineer who has invented a machine which allows people to travel through time and space.
We were treated to the magnificent Japanese film One Cut of the Dead a few years ago, which was a little less than half of a one-take zombie film about a tiny film crew making a zombie film. It was one of those flicks where I thought I knew what was going to happen just to be surprised and thrilled the whole time. Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes, a wonderful one-shot time loop sci-fi performed at the Fantasia Film Festival 2021, is the spiritual successor. It was entirely filmed on an iPhone by the Europe Kikaku theater group. It has a fantastic gimmick and utilizes it to its full potential.
The whole movie revolves on economics. Space, concept, character, and time economy are all factors to consider. We meet Kato, a café owner and budding musician who has affections for the lady who works next door. He directs his employee to his apartment, which is when things start to become weird. His computer display starts talking to him. He starts talking to him, to be more specific. The other Kato tells him that he is speaking from two minutes in the future, while the café TV is seeing Kato’s room from two minutes ago.
Kato goes down to the café, confused, with the camera following him, and tells his previous self what he just heard his future self say. This is an unusual occurrence, and if all else were equal, Kato would probably disregard it. His employee, on the other hand, sees him and wants to put it to the test. Then several of your friends come over and want to try it out. And things start to spiral out of control.
Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes’ genius lies in the fact that it deliberately shows us, many times, what the two-minute time TV tunnel looks like in reality. We see the individuals as they hurry from the apartment to the café, and we hear some of the same conversations. This is done, however, so that we can comprehend the underlying logic. Then, just when you think the gimmick has worn stale, Yamaguchi ups the ante.
One of Kato’s friends lugs the monitor downstairs and places it in front of the café TV. This increases the stakes; there are now three periods to contend with. It isn’t the only twist, but I don’t want to give anything away. It’s a brilliant concept that keeps adding new twists and turns as these very amusing characters experiment with time limitations.
While some of the latter moments seem a bit contrived, the overall effect is still great. It gets just enough out of the topic without going into too much depth, clocking up at about 70 minutes. It certainly helps that the whole ensemble is so nice and lovable. You’re intrigued to see what they’ll do and how they’ll escape this bizarre situation. Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes has already been picked up for North American distribution by Canadian distributor Indiecan, and I’m expecting to see it on Netflix shortly. More people should see “One Cut of the Dead meets Tenet,” as Fantasia put it.