Take a Drink: for Little Red Riding Hood imagery
Take a Drink: for Bunzo (the bunny)
Take a Drink: for any viewing of Fargo, especially the opening “This is a true story” disclaimer
Take a Drink: for maps, embroidered or otherwise
Do a Shot: yep, that wasn’t real
By: Henry J. Fromage (A Toast) –
Once upon a time, a social awkward, almost certainly autistic Japanese woman went off in search of the buried suitcase of money from the film Fargo, completely unprepared for the journey ahead, or, you know, the fact that Fargo was just a movie, fake “this is a true story” disclaimer or not. Her name? Oliver Platt.
If you don’t get that joke, you’re missing the best show on TV right now.
This is what happened the last time I watched a Zellner Brothers film. Kid-Thing was hot garbage at its hottest, wettest, and most pungent. Well, I’m happy to report to all the Friedberg & Seltzers, Damon Wayanses, and Tyler Perrys out there, that it is possible for directors to improve if they give half a fuck. Yes, the Zellners went from Six Pack to A Toast in four years, and so can you.
If you believe, anything is possible!
On to the movie. Kumiko boasts top of the line quality in every element of its production, working together in impeccable harmony. The Zellners and DP Sean Porter create a cleanly framed, truly, truly gorgeously shot visual milieu that somehow is utterly eye-catching and somehow just a… little… bit… off. The music by The Octopus Project adds to that eerie strangeness and adds a heavy layer of portentous doom. The effect is fairy tale-like, but with plenty of dark undertones.
This off-kilter atmosphere perfectly supports the Zellners’ borderline bizarre script and Rinko Kinkuchi’s matching lead role. She’s spectacular in this, playing a character somewhere high up on the autism spectrum who nonetheless is very much the hero of her own story. She walks a delicate line between invoking sympathy for this strangely deluded woman and producing laughs with both a gifted touch for physical comedy and her bizarre reactions to the situations she encounters. You begin to realize that the entire film really is filtered through her unique worldview, sad but beautiful in its own way. The ending, which takes this to its logical extreme (mirroring the film’s somewhat true-life inspiration), is both a gut-punch and an elegy.
Not for this world.
Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter is an odd, but genuinely affecting human drama with some of the best production elements of the year.