Fantasia Film Festival 2021: Beyond The Infinite Two Minutes

A clever, inventive take on the time-loop movie.

Synopsis: A cafe owner discovers that the TV in his cafe suddenly shows images from the future, but only two minutes into the future.

The science-fiction time-loop movie seems to never run out of fresh takes, translating into horror, romance or action genres with ease. Others utilising the gimmick tend to choose a time period that allows them to set a rhythm and also allows for the manipulation of only certain scenes as viewers become more familiar with the patterns. Beyond The Infinite Two Minutes, as the title suggests, bravely dispenses with this, restricting its loop at just two minutes.

There is an impressive level of control exerted over the stream of near-constant moving parts, perfectly choreographed with a level of detail that is awe-inspiring, given their limited means and space. On the other hand, this contributes to the need to call a halt to proceedings at times to make sure everyone is still on board with the film’s logic and also give everyone a bit of a break. It tries to keep it relatively light-hearted, but some of the pauses to go over concepts like the Droste effect run a little long and as the detail progresses, I’m not sure it provides any greater clarity.

The cumulative effect of the explanation pieces does disrupt the flow to some degree, but when the film picks up again it does so with a great deal of skill, energy and a knack for hitting both its punchlines and more serious moments. Along with the sci-fi logic and artistic theory comes a side of philosophical ponderings. The ripple effects of knowing even a small amount of what happens in the future become immediately apparent to the characters, changing their initial fun to something more meaningful. Though it never becomes too weighty, there are effective moments in which themes of sincerity and decision-making are explored.

Shooting on iPhone allows for a fluidity of movement and it is movement that often encroaches on the performer’s space as they move from room to room. Kazunari Tosa as Kato, the cafe owner who is the original source of the loop, is excellent, bringing a real everyman quality to his performance that matches the initial apprehension as well as the later veering between fun and uncertainty. Aya (Riko Fujitani) provides a more energetic counterpoint to him, leading to drawing more of the characters in, with the chemistry strong across the board.

Junta Yamaguchi’s debut feature is a remarkable example of what can be achieved with some focus, a charming cast and a smart, economic take on big concepts. Stay tuned throughout the credits for snippets of the making of, which I could easily watch a feature of too.

4 out of 5 stars

4 out of 5 stars

Beyond The Infinite Two Minutes screens as part of Fantasia Festival. The film is available on demand. Ticket information is available on the webpage.

Author: ScaredSheepless

Film and television fan, with a particular love for horror.

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