Tuesday, January 25, 2022

In short: Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes (2020)

Original title: ドロステのはてで僕ら

Café owner Kato (Kazunari Tosa) learns that the two minute time delay between a monitor in his home above his café and a monitor inside of the place makes it possible to see two minutes into the future. Things become complicated once some of his regulars/friends get wind of the thing; some of them are rather creative with their use of the set-up and manage to enhance it. Also involved are the adorable neighbour Kato is harbouring a crush on (Aki Asakura), and…but that would be needlessly telling.

Clearly, the wonderful One Cut of the Dead has put the idea into the heads of some of the more creative Japanese indie filmmakers that editing is for suckers and precisely choreographed one take movies are the thing to do now. Even better for the quality of the resulting films is that this sort of approach weeds out the boring, the lazy and the sane filmmakers, leaving guys like first-time feature director Junta Yamaguchi to the business of making their own lives very difficult, and their audiences happy.

As Yamaguchi approaches the format he has chosen, he and writer Makoto Ueda clearly use its difficulties and problems as creative fuel, turning what could be a gimmick into an intrinsic and important part of the narrative, and then proceed to go from clever bit to clever bit, from one great joke to the next, using formal restrictions to turn a film with a minimum of locations and characters into something exciting and alive that feels genuinely new.

At the same time, and that’s really the more important connection the film shares with One Cut, this is also a deeply likeable movie with quite a big heart, the sort of thing that’ll make you leave the streaming service of your choice with a big smile on your face not just because the film is clever and exciting, but because it has a heart as big as a Marvel blockbuster to boot.

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