River was watched as part of Fantastic Fest 2023!
Mikoto (Riko Fujitani) works at an Inn in Kibune, Kyoto during the winter. It seems to be some sort of travel destination, a peaceful oasis for people to get away and get to know themselves. Of the guests we have business men, writers, and more.
But for Mikoto, after she goes and looks out over the river, she finds herself cleaning a room with her superior. And it seems really familiar. Some deja vu. He realizes it too. And as they clean…huh. Back at the river again?
Turns out the people in this Inn seem to be trapped in a time loop. Nothing they do physically stays put after just two minutes. They can break something, break each other, eat food, but in two minutes, they go back to where they were. The weather seems to change, and they remember everything before that, but the world resets them.
Getting out of this loop, with such a short time, is going to take everyone working together, and trying everything, without giving in to panic and sheer terror.
With a big cast of people, starring: Manami Honjô, Gôta Ishida, Yoshimasa Kondô, Shiori Kubo, Masahiro Kuroki, Kohei Morooka, Munenori Nagano, Haruki Nakagawa, Yoshifumi Sakai, Saori, Masashi Suwa, Yûki Torigoe, and Kazunari Tosa.
Infinite time, but you are stuck with these bozos.
Speaking of one shot take, this one clearly isn’t done in one shot. But each time iteration is done in one shot. The camera rolls, they get as far as they can, it fades, and the next singular shot takes place in our next time jump. I love it. It adds to the realism of their situation. Everyone also comes to the conclusion about the time looping thing on the third try, thinking rightfully the 2nd one was strange. But fool me three times? That is when plans start going and it gets real exciting.
How many iterations happen in this film? A good 36 if I kept my count correct. And that is a lot of times to start over an event, talk to new people, solve new problems, and try to keep people chill. I was not shocked at how violent it got at times, but I was shocked at how peaceful it also got. It made me personally think what I would try to accomplish with that time. What i would try.
And what’s more exciting about this movie is it has a very satisfactory conclusion. It ends on an expected enough note, and it tells a complete and powerful story. But in a unique and interesting way.