A jaded Japanese woman becomes convinced that a satchel of money buried and lost in a fictional film, Fargo, is in fact, real. With a crudely drawn treasure map and limited preparation, she escapes her structured life in Tokyo and embarks on a foolhardy quest across the tundra of Minnesota in search of her mythical fortune. Written by
In a Q&A at the London Sundance Film Festival 2014, the director (and his brother who was not present) claimed that the ambiguous introduction was heavily influenced by the beginnings of the James Bond films that they so loved as children. See more »
When she is visiting Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox, that is in Bemidji, MN which is located in Beltrami County. The Sheriffs car that pulls up says Tyrrell County on the side which doesn't exist in Minnesota. See more »
The credits are almost entirely bilingual in English and Japanese -- even though the movie has never been released in Japan as of early 2016 (either in theaters, media, or internet streaming). See more »
An introverted, heavily antisocial woman in Japan sees Fargo, the Coen Brothers film about a couple of gangsters failing at a job, and in the process hiding and losing a briefcase full of money. Fair enough, but the fun and the story start when she becomes fixated on the fact that surely this must be a true story and there's a real treasure somewhere on the side of a North Dakota road just waiting for her.
Kumiko is a bizarre story, as you have probably already surmised. Rinko Kikuchi, most known for Pacific Rim, plays the lead here, and she absolutely sells the character. She is the epitome of a square peck in a round hole and it's at times painful to see her trying to surmount the obstacles of everyday life that we take for granted. And a lot of the mystery of the film comes from wondering how she ended up like this and just how deep her condition goes. There's a very good scene near the beginning where she meets an old friend, who greets her like any other high school friend you have not seen for years, and you realize that surely Kumiko was not always like this. Something happened.
But the real treats start rolling when Kumiko decides to follow her only true passion and buys a plane ticket to America. The rest cannot be really talked about without spoiling the story, but trust me that it's just as surreal as Fargo at its best and, more often than not, even more so.
Plus, the ending, which is just about perfect. The only way this kind of story could really end.
Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter is an experience. Its reach is perhaps greater than its grasp, but it's still a movie I'd definitely recommend for its sheer ambition and uniqueness.
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