Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

"Though this film stands up well on its own and is delightfully entertaining, it will be of particular interest to fans of the later feature."

The smart little short which provided proof of concept for 2020 feature Beyond The Infinite Two Minutes, this diligently structured work by Makoto Ueda (who would go on to write the said feature) follows the adventures of a man who is sitting in his apartment one day when he receives a message on his television set - from himself. This version of himself claims to be two minutes in the future, speaking through a connected monitor in his workplace downstairs. After a quick test to confirm that the man on the television set is who he claims to be, our hero rushes downstairs, where he explains the situation to a past version of himself. But rather than just playing this scenario over and over on a loop, Ueda explores what happens when the man decides to try and exploit the situation, taking the story in a different direction.

Inventive camerawork means that we don't get bored of seeing the same lines repeated, and with a ten minute runtime, there's no need for further expansion in order to keep things interesting. The natural urgency of the format carries it along at an energetic pace, with a likeable central performance and good comic timing. It's a story that might not work in a different cultural context, but here our hero's first instinct is to be polite and cooperative, which is both a source of humour and an easy means of facilitating the action.

Though it has obviously been made on a low budget and has a rather rough and ready look, the film doesn't give viewers time to worry about this. The chaotic look of the locations, the apartment strewn with junk, enhances the characterisation and immersive effect. It also means that we don't worry too much about the quality of costuming in an ending which harks back to popular Japanese TV series (which often looked just as hastily assembled).

Though this film stands up well on its own and is delightfully entertaining, it will be of particular interest to fans of the later feature, who will then be able to appreciate how the story was re-engineered both to make a longer running time possible and to enable the central idea to be used in the presentation of more complex themes. There's nothing particularly deep about this version, but there doesn't need to be. Benefiting from the same precision in performance, it's an awesome calling card from Ueda and great fun to watch.

Reviewed on: 15 Nov 2021
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A man is contacted by a version of himself two minutes in the future.

Director: Makoto Ueda

Writer: Makoto Ueda

Starring: Kazunari Tosa, Haruki Nakagawa

Year: 2014

Runtime: 11 minutes

Country: Japan


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