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Fantastic Fest Review: Junta Yamaguchi’s ‘Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes’

Fantastic Fest Review: Junta Yamaguchi’s ‘Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes’

Junta Yamaguchi saw time travel films and said “I can do that, and I can do it in one take” then proceeded to do exactly that with his debut feature Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes. The story follows Kato, the owner of a small Japanese cafe, who after closing up shop late one night and heading to his apartment upstairs is startled to find an image of himself staring back at him from his computer screen. He’s even more alarmed to find that this version of himself claims to be from two minutes in the future, and appears to be sitting in front of the television set that’s in the cafe downstairs. It doesn’t take long before Koto’s co-worker catches on, and by the halfway point there’s a whole group of people playing with this paradox that’s appeared within the cafe.

At first glance you wouldn’t think there’d be a lot a filmmaker could do with a two minute time loop but Yamaguchi makes the absolute most of this concept via a rapidly evolving plot set brilliantly within the one shot framework he’s created, keeping the film continuously engaging from moment to moment. The camera movements are incredibly smooth considering how much motion the camera itself is undergoing almost the entire time, made very believable by solid performances from the relatively unknown actors and grounded yet charming production design. It’s very much a genre film, managing to fit drama, tension, comedy, and even a love story into a super tight seventy minute runtime without feeling like it lacked anything in the way of development.

There’s a couple of small issues, the most glaring of which are the almost infinitely long power cables attached to the two screens where the time paradox takes place; the characters move these screens throughout and there’s a cable visibly attached as they walk hundreds of feet before sitting the screen back down. It’s actually quite funny but definitely takes away from the believability of the situation playing out on screen when virtually every other aspect feels fairly authentic. The way it explains the events in the final act is a bit wacky, but so is every other part of the film so it actually works much better here than it would in a lot of time travel affairs. This comes across as a movie that’s far more interested in leaving you with a smile on your face and a slight sense of wonder as the credits roll, much like Colin Trevorrow’s Safety Not Guaranteed, than it does with leaving you scratching your head for days. Regardless of which style you prefer, if you’re a fan of time travel films Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes is most certainly one you won’t want to miss; no VOD release date has been confirmed but the all-region blu-ray is set to release on November 15, which you can pre-order now.