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  • Writer's picturePerrin Faerch

Review: Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes (2021)


Café owner Kato (Kazunari Tosa) discovers that the computer monitor in his upstairs apartment sees two minutes into the future, while the monitor downstairs in the café, sees two minutes into the past. These two screens’ have a delayed live stream in communicating with each other. Soon, we find Kato and his friends communicating with their future and past selves. It's only a matter of time before they realise they are enslaving themselves to the future, but will it be too late?


Leave it once again to the Japanese to provide yet another really fun high-concept script, with a really complex setup, done on the most shoestring of budgets. I say this because back in 2017, director Shinichirou Ueda gifted us with the meta zombie comedy One Cut of the Dead, which follows a film crew’s zombie film production being interrupted by an actual zombie horde. Shot and performed by amateurs with only a $25 000 budget, its ingenuity and level of precise planning made it one of the most entertaining and hilarious movie experiences I’ve had in quite some time. So when Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes surfaced on my radar, I needed to seek it out. I proceeded to rent it on Vudu, but due to an unintentional subtitle delay (oh the irony), I was forced to retreat from my TV and watch on my laptop like some pleb. Despite the annoying technical error on Vudu’s side, it forced me to watch the film on my laptop instead, which, in the long run, actually proved to be a far more appropriate viewing experience. One that immersed me deeper within the film's scenario, living through and relying on my screen as much as they do the same with theirs.

These two screens determine their destinies, albeit only two minutes in the future, but either way, they find themselves trapped inside them, not seeing the world and events that happen outside of each monitor’s field of vision. They’re effectively held hostage by their future actions, dictating how their present behaviour should and will be in hopes of them reaching the good or bad events they see two minutes into the future. Although the idea of knowing the future affecting one’s behaviour isn’t entirely new, Beyond’s really clever two-minute buffer restricts the possibilities and actions these characters find themselves embarking on, allowing for the film to move at a rapid pace as we chase the future's short term viewing window, raising the stakes a little higher. It not only makes for hilarious scenarios that range from really poor get-rich-quick schemes and the odd magic trick, but it also really puts into perspective just how big of a difference two minutes can make as you see what may or may not have happened just two minutes away. Director Yamaguchi and screenwriter Ueda soon spice things up by bending and introducing new rules by implementing the Droste effect for their characters - letting them see further past the restrictive two minutes, allowing the future to have an even tighter grasp on their present’s behaviour, something with which they will need to break free from to regain their agency and truly reclaim their present and future.

The entire film unfolds in just 70 minutes, taking place entirely within the café and the apartments above. It's also shot and edited to feel like one continuous take, further embracing the excitement of this new discovery felt by its characters as they fall down this Droste-effect rabbit hole, anticipating what the next prophetic two minutes from the future might provide - further enslaving them and their actions to a seemingly irreversible, pre-determined future. A small budget with limited resources often forces films to pull back and simplify on their big ideas, but not with Beyond. Here, Yamaguchi and Ueda opt to go as elaborate as possible, bouncing from moment to moment, catching up to the future as well as rushing to inform the past. It’s an exciting relay race that thankfully doesn’t rely entirely on the field of vision that each screen limits us to, providing us with action off-screen that is equally, if not more exciting than what the visions of the future provide for our characters.


It’s a dizzying experience that often had me absolutely blown away by the pinpoint choreography of the camera and blocking of each performer. It’s all so fine and precise, like a Japanese bullet train arriving perfectly on time before speeding off to its next exact place in time through the eye of a needle. Just how the hell did they do all this? I often don’t like to indulge in all the behind-the-scenes stories of my favourite films, particularly such high concept sci-fi movies, but in Beyond’s case, it’s entirely necessary. The credits provide us footage with just how they pulled off all these tricks, adding yet another layer of enthusiasm and excitement for me that strengthens my love for the medium and its ability to create magic.

Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes is a frequently brilliant little sci-fi comedy that takes full advantage of its concept and the creativity it encourages. Every cast member is fully committed, and thanks to truly ingenious methods in sewing each moment in the past, present and future together, director and editor Junta Yamaguchi manages to pull off some impressive visual trickery that really allows for the fun script by Makoto Ueda to shine and have the fun it deserves. It may not be as dense of a think piece one would want from more cerebral sci-fi’s, especially with some of the ideas briefly scratched upon here, but it doesn’t need to be. Like the mega-hit in One Cut of the Dead, Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes embraces its silliness, never taking itself too seriously, letting its cast and crew revel in the playground that is offered to them that will leave you grinning from ear to ear.


Where you can watch it: Most VOD platforms (USA, UK)

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