Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter (David Zellner, 2014)

kumiko snow

There is a lot to like about Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter. The hypnotic soundtrack by The Octopus Project is a delight. At its center is a wonderful performance from Rinko Kikuchi. Best of all is the premise. The film, based on a true story, is about a Japanese woman who believes the events depicted in her VHS copy of Fargo are real and that somewhere in the Midwest lies a bunch of money, buried in the snow by a bloodied Steve Buscemi.

An engaging opening twenty minutes establishes Kumiko as a fish-out-of-water in her homeland. She steadfastly refuses the hollow aspirations pinned on her by family and society, be they marriage or a cushy job. When tasked with watching a child for a few minutes, Kumiko panics and runs away. Unfortunately, the film becomes much more obvious once she arrives as a fish-out-of-water in America. From here, the movie mostly deals in scenes of the fanatical, clearly demented young woman (we never once explore Kumiko’s very real pain) as she gets a blitz-in-a-blizzard of Minnesota nice.  Continue reading Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter (David Zellner, 2014)”