Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter

  • Film
  • Drama
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Magic realism comes to Minnesota in this sly slice of slow cinema, as a downtrodden Japanese office worker (Rinko Kikuchi) finds a VHS tape of the Coen brothers’s ‘Fargo’ hidden in a seaside cave, reads the fake ‘based on a true story’ caption and sets off for the New World intent on unearthing the suitcase of cash hidden by Steve Buscemi’s character in the 1996 thriller.

Is Kumiko mentally ill or just so desperate to give her life meaning that she’s willing to ignore the obvious flaws in her plan? This troubling question forms the backbone of American writer-directors David and Nathan Zellner’s ice-cold indie, and if you’re willing to take Kumiko as just another cute oddball on an amusingly misguided quest, this might almost be a comedy.

But if Kumiko is indeed mad, as the film seems to suggest, then it becomes a far darker affair. The result is a fascinating – at times illuminating – tightrope act, but rarely an enjoyable one: for all its luminous outsider’s-eye photography and painstaking, perfectly pitched performances, both the film and its shivering heroine prove difficult to warm to

Release details

Release date: Friday February 20 2015
Duration: 105 mins

Cast and crew

Director: David Zellner
Screenwriter: David Zellner, Nathan Zellner
Cast: Rinko Kikuchi
Nobuyuki Katsube
Shirley Venard
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