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Of course, helping Beyond The Infinite Two Minutes maintain the power it receives from the directing and style is the screenplay. Makoto Ueda, who has written several fantastic films such as Penguin Highway and The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl, delivers on all fronts here. The dialogue is often very funny but still sounds quite natural given the fantastical situation the delightful and lovable characters find themselves in. He also put a great deal of thought into how this time-traveling would work, and it makes enough sense for audiences to buy into it without dangling enormous plotholes all over the place (not saying they don’t exist, just that they aren’t readily apparent or very large).

In a production this smartly written and so breathtakingly directed, it stands to reason that as much care and thought would be given into who to cast for which roles. That assumption is accurate, as every actor has a moment to shine and charm the pants off the audience. Tosa is relatable as Kato, whose confusion, fun, and then anger at the future is relatable and fully felt. As Megumi, Aki Asakura does not have that large of a role until the second half. Still, she shines every moment she’s on the screen, allowing one to understand Kato and her’s relationship dynamic instantly.

“…an absolute masterpiece and one of the best films of the year.”

That isn’t to imply that Fujitani, Ishida, Suwa, or Sakai do a poor job. They most assuredly do not. Sakai’s delight over getting a “zebra pillbug” from a vending machine is so precious and adorable that viewers will instantly connect to his whimsy. Fujitani’s asking her future self questions all the time could’ve been annoying, but she turns it into a rather endearing quirk. Ishida and Suwa equally do an excellent job, with their comedic timing being spot on.

There is nothing to not love about Beyond The Infinite Two Minutes. Yamaguchi swings big with his directing debut, with the one-take angle being more than a gimmick. The carefully detailed plans of when to show what and why really amp up the stakes at the right moment. The amazing screenplay is populated with loveable and fun characters, who are all brought to life by a phenomenal cast. There’s no doubt that this is an absolute masterpiece and one of the best films of the year.

Beyond The Infinite Two Minutes screened at the 2021 Fantasia Film Festival and the 2021 Fantastic Fest.

Beyond The Infinite Two Minutes (2021)

Directed: Junta Yamaguchi

Written: Makoto Ueda

Starring: Kazunari Tosa, Riko Fujitani, Gota Ishida, Masashi Suwa, Yoshifumi Sakai, Aki Asakura, etc.

Movie score: 10/10

Beyond The Infinite Two Minutes Image

"…independently produced titles have to be creative to work with what they have..."

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