A lonely Japanese woman becomes convinced that a satchel of money buried in a fictional film is, in fact, real. Abandoning her structured life in Tokyo for the frozen Minnesota wilderness, she embarks on an impulsive quest to search for her lost mythical fortune.
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I don't know who is more pathetic, the obviously mentally ill Kumiko, the people who made this sad, predictable and boring film, the distributors who bothered to give it screens when films like HARD TO BE A GOD have still never reached USA, or the patrons who sat though this abyss.
Kikuchi is wonderful using her eyes in quite moments, and I appreciated Zellner's level of craft beyond the usual sloppy aesthetic choices of indies.
My problem is that Kumiko doesn't deepen or broaden with each encounter. As she makes her way through Minnesota, she bounces from character to character with little variation. I understand Kumiko thanks to Kikuchi's performance, not the repetitive script.
I want to say so many things about this movie....but firstly, WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT ENDING CREDIT SONG ??????? Maybe for Japanese, that pseudo-JP song's critically mess. I can't stop laughing out loud with tears in my eyes...except that, this "Sans toit ni loi" in America is pretty bleak, wintry & good. I don't think it's such a slow-motion-suicide film.
The Zellner brothers are heroic. They make heroic movies. Perhaps they have been held to measure against the Coen brothers one too many times. A reckoning was inevitable. But you wanna talk heroic? Rinko Kikuchi is uber-heroic. If the brothers get a little arch from time to time, Rinko K. stops that business dead. It's about life without a net. Following Kumiko to her final destination: soaring, happy, nearly tears.
A truly original, hilarious film. Beautifully shot and wonderful performances. There are some truly memorable moments that will stick with you. Wonderful score as well. Despite the fact that I have hardly anything bad to say about it, it did feel like a layer to the film was missing. All in all, beautiful film. Go Bunzo! 3.5 stars.
The initial setup is interesting in which a mentally unstable Japanese woman travels to America to find a 'treasure' she saw in a fiction film (Fargo). However despite a strong turn by lead Rinko Kikuchi this is a film that really is a road to nowhere and misses plenty of opportunities to express something far deeper. The music score by The Octopus Project is quite interesting.