Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes [Fantasia International Film Festival Review]

Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes is one of the most ingenious time-travel movies ever made, and that's quite an accomplishment considering the subgenre includes masterpieces like Back to the Future and The Terminator. The film, screening as part of the 2021 Fantasia International Film Festival, has a premise that makes your head spin, then proceeds to develop it until you feel like your head might actually pop off. That's a compliment, by the way.

Kato (Kazunari Tosa) is a café owner who discovers that there's a two-minute delay in the space between his business and the apartment upstairs. He's able to communicate with himself in the very near future via the television. At first, this is baffling. He talks to his future self in the apartment, then goes downstairs and has the same conversation from the reverse side. 

Kato soon brings co-workers and friends into the action. They're excited to find out that the delay can be used for things like figuring out which boxes to scratch off on a lottery ticket in order to win. Then someone gets the idea to put one TV in front of another, creating an effect like when you hold a mirror up to another mirror and can see infinite reflections of yourself. Now they can talk to themselves up to several hours into the future or the past. It seems awesome until they see something in the future that doesn't portend well.

Director Junta Yamaguchi shot Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes on a cellphone and used editing technology to make it look like it was accomplished in one long, unbroken shot. The effect is mesmerizing, as Kato and crew run back and forth between the café and the apartment. You feel as though you're making the trek alongside the group. And when they use what they've learned about the time loop to get out of a sticky situation, it's impossible not to smile at the sheer inventiveness. 

The movie continually finds new wrinkles to add to the scenario. Just when you think there's nowhere left for the story to go, Makoto Ueda's clever screenplay somehow finds a fresh angle. Most astonishing of all is that the crazy developments make sense. All the talking back and forth among the characters in different time periods is complex, yet you never get lost or confused. That's how tightly plotted the film is.

Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes is funny, well-acted, and utterly mind-blowing. In fact, it may have the most deliriously nutty concept since Being John Malkovich

Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes is unrated, but contains brief adult language and mild violence. The running time is 1 hour and 10 minutes.