You’ve seen time loop movies before, but you haven’t seen one like this. An official selection of the Fantasia Film Festival 2021.
The Premise: Cafe owner Kato (Kazunori Tosa) returns home after a long day at work via a very short commute as he lives just above it. His apartment is just as he left it but contains a surprise: a message from himself, delivered “live” from the cafe downstairs. Weird, right? Turns out the monitors in his home and his cafe are linked, and the one in the cafe is suddenly broadcasting from two minutes in the future. By racing up and down the stairs, Kato can leave a message and then hear it, or deliver a message he knows he’s already heard. Things get interesting when his friends get involved, tinkering with the system in order to see deeper into the future, and using it to procure money, money that actually belongs to some gangsters because of course it does. Too bad they didn’t see that coming.
The Verdict: The film has an immediacy that distinguishes it from other movies in the genre. Kato’s ability to tamper with it and interact with it directly is also a refreshing addition to genre rules that are perhaps growing stale. But best of all, not to mention rather daringly, director Junta Yamaguchi pulls this off in a single 70 minute long take. One single take! It’s seamless, never gimmicky, infusing energy and urgency in a movie that’s surprisingly full of fun and a bubbling levity despite growing threats and intensity. It’s high-concept without being alienating, an inventive twist inspiring real creativity within the cast and crew. They keep things simple, the film bare bones in order to emphasize its moving parts. The characters are uncomplicated but surprisingly fully-formed, which adds to the intimacy of a time loop with such limited scope. Haunted by potential paradoxes, this madcap mini adventure shows us how anxiety drives us to recreate the past rather than pursuing the future. This movie is a testament to hard work both behind and in front of the screen; the crew pulls it off with an ease that only comes from serious rehearsal. I’m not sure when it happened exactly, but Beyond The Infinite Two Minutes quietly became my favourite film at the festival.