Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter Review

Posted 9 years ago by myetvmedia

“Solitude is just a fancy word for loneliness”, says a friendly stranger in director David Zellner’s “Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter”. Kumiko knows quite a bit about loneliness. After watching this beautiful and stirring film, I feel as though I do, as well. Zellner co-wrote the screenplay with his brother Nathan Zellner. The movie is quickly becoming a critical darling on this year’s festival circuit, including a Grand Jury nomination at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and a win there for the “mysterious and evocative musical score” created by the band, ‘The Octopus Project’ . Rinko Kikuchi’s performance as the central character Kumiko, is inspired and powerful.

“Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter” is as lovely as it is haunting. There are times when Kumiko’s fish-out-of-water responses are hilarious. Rinko Kikuchi is utterly charming in her role as this introverted misfit. Underneath her curious naïvete is a deep-rooted sadness, a reminder that loneliness can follow us no matter where we go. The film is based on a true story which only serves to accentuate the ultimate tragedy of Kumiko’s quest: no matter how much we search, we all can still be lost.

“Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter” follows Kumiko (Rinko Kikuchi), a shy and introverted woman living in Tokyo, Japan. With a go-nowhere job and a perpetually unsatisfied mother, Kumiko’s life is lonely and empty until she stumbles across an old VHS copy of the Coen brothers classic, “Fargo” (1996). She becomes obsessed with the film, believing that the loot stashed by Steve Buscemi in the movie really exists and she alone will discover it. The movie becomes a road trip as Kumiko’s hunt for the treasure takes her to North Dakota, where she believes destiny awaits her.

“Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter” made its Toronto debut at Toronto After Dark on Monday, October the 20th.

Nimy Leshinski

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