A movie review of “Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter.” Rinko Kikuchi stars as a loner from Tokyo who goes on a quest to find the bag of money buried in the movie “Fargo.” Rating: 3 stars out of 4.
“Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter” didn’t really happen. It’s an urban legend.
It’s sort of like the Coen Brothers’ “Fargo” that way.
That’s the movie Kumiko (Rinko Kikuchi of “Pacific Rim”) stumbles across while beachcombing near Tokyo. It’s buried in the sand in a cave. This VHS must have something to tell her!
Movie Review ★★★
‘Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter,’ with Rinko Kikuchi. Written and directed by David Zellner and Nathan Zellner. 104 minutes. Not rated; for mature audiences. SIFF Cinema Uptown.
A loner and passive-aggressive “office lady” who doesn’t fit in with her colleagues, she hates running into more successful friends, doesn’t call her mother enough and generally avoids human contact.
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But parsing the scenes of a waterlogged videotape is something she can manage. She sees a tale of kidnapping and murder in snowy Minnesota. She watches a bloodied Steve Buscemi leave a car on a blizzard-blown back road, cross a barbed wire fence and bury a bag of money.
It must still be there!
Kikuchi’s Kumiko doesn’t say any of this aloud. She and the Zellner Brothers, who wrote and directed this, get that across with just a pained, desperate face. She’s failing at life and work, but this treasure quest could be just the ticket.
She traces the TV screen to get the exact fence pattern of the burial site. Then she blows everything she has, and then some, to go to Minnesota to find the loot. In the winter.
The Zellners mimic “Fargo” in the deadpan nature of the humor here. The story evolves from quest to odyssey as Kumiko clings to her delusion and we start to wonder if maybe this loon isn’t onto something — that maybe the Coens WERE trying to tell us something. And only Kumiko and the Zellners figured that out.