• Review: Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter (2014)

    From David N. Butterworth@21:1/5 to All on Mon Oct 3 23:04:18 2016
    A film review by David N. Butterworth
    Copyright 2016 David N. Butterworth

    *** (out of ****)

    The discovery, in a cave along the Japanese shoreline, of a beat-up VHS
    copy of "Fargo" with its "Based on a True Story" promise of buried
    treasure, propels Tokyo-based "Office Lady" Kumiko (Rinko Kikuchi, Oscar-nominee for 2006's "Babel") on a whirlwind search for a briefcase
    full of cash--the one buried in the snow by Steve Buscemi's character--in
    the frigid wilds of Minnesota. "Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter" is a cold, sometimes comic movie. You feel that cold in your bones as the unmarried 29-year-old, separated from her beloved bunrab Bunzo and funding this
    fool's errand with a purloined company credit card, bundles along the
    chilly north-south corridors, the wind whipping at her hooded hair. Wising
    up, she rips open a colorful motel quilt and wears it as a *sarape*. She accepts the kindness of strangers often but fleetingly, typically bolting before first light. "Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter" feels more like a Polish Brothers movie ("Northfork," "Twin Falls Idaho") than one conceived by "Fargo"'s Coen sibs. In actual fact, it's "A Zellner Bros." film--David directs and also co-writes with his brother Nathan; both have small roles
    in the film. "Kumiko'" is their fifth collaboration, a film of bounteous, crystalline contrasts and atonal rhythms (by the indietronica band The
    Octopus Project), an ambitious arthouse odyssey with an ambiguous ending.
    And, of course, the wonderful, wistful Kikuchi at its core: focused,
    laconic, and wholly unfit for this world. We can only hope she finds that better world she believes exists beyond North Dakota's stark wire fences.

    David N. Butterworth

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