Junta Yamaguchi’s surprisingly inventive film Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes serves as a perfect case study for how to successfully make a high concept film on a budget. The film takes a simple premise and turns it into one of the most enjoyable features you will see this year.
Yamaguchi’s delightful film, presented as a single unbroken take, revolves around a café owner named Kato (Kazunari Tosa), who discovers one night that the computer monitor in his upstairs apartment is somehow linked to the café’s TV. What makes this development even more peculiar is that his monitor is displaying a version of himself that is two minutes in the future.
Unsure of how he can communicate with his future self, a confused Kato tries to investigate the issue without alerting his employee Aya (Riko Fujitani). Of course, it does not take long for the secret to get out as Aya and Kato’s friends Komiya (Gota Ishida), Tanabe (Masashi Suwa), and Ozawa (Yoshifumi Sakai) join him in his quest to uncover the origin of the phenomenon. As the group try to test the limits of knowing the future, questions arise as to whether it is possible to create an infinite loop that will allow them to see even further into the future.
Skipping the usually plodding expository dialogue often found in time travel films, Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes joyously embraces its fun premise. The science of the situation the characters find themselves in is kept to a minimum. Rather than focusing on the deep philosophical dilemma’s surrounding being able to see the future, the film revels in the little wins that Kato and his friends enjoy, such as knowing the winning scratch card slot or finding a rare toy in a vending machine.
This is not to say that there are not unexpected consequences that come from their antics. There is a subplot involving found money, some gangsters, and a fellow shop owner that Kato has a crush on that arises in the second half of the film. However, Yamaguchi never dwells too long on these moments as he breaks the tension with humour. Consistently keeping the audience laughing and finding unique ways to keeps its premise moving without ever feeling repetitive, the film is a treat from beginning to end.
A hilarious and inventive work, Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes is one of the year’s hidden comedic gems.