Film: Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter

A quirky premise and Rinko Kikuchi aren’t enough to rescue Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter (2014), a somber, distancing snore. Kumiko (Kikuchi) is a 29-year-old secretary, moldering in the dismal patriarchy of corporate Tokyo. An outcast suffering under a horrible boss and the stultifying expectations of her mother, Kumiko dreams of a life-changing quest, which develops into a deeply peculiar obsession: locating the money hidden by Steve Buscemi’s character in the movie Fargo, which she thinks is real.

While Kikuchi is good and there’s a certain visual grace to the film, there isn’t much else to recommend Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter, a plodding feminist allegory that makes its point effectively, but not particularly interestingly. The execution is sluggish and predictable, mitigating the impact of an earnest message. An intriguing idea, but ultimately its lack of energy and surprise was fatal to my interest.

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