Matthew McConaughey Flirts With Death in First ‘Sea of Trees’ Trailer
It’s only been a month, but anyone who’s already forgotten about the reprehensible, dull Natalie Dormer horror vehicle The Forest would be totally within their rights. The film was, to put it gently, not very good, offending viewers both aesthetically with its garden-variety badness and culturally with its thoughtless profaning of the Aokigahara Forest, a sacred wood in Japan where many go to commit suicide. Aokigahara holds tremendous significance in Japanese folklore as a site of bustling spiritual activity, but The Forest treated it like an open-air haunted house where malevolent ghosts lurk behind trees, waiting for the right moment to jump out and scare you. It was roundly rejected by audiences and critics alike, and one month later, already seems to be a fading memory from a dark past.
Gus Van Sant and Matthew McConaughey hope that viewers will be a little more receptive to their new film The Sea of Trees. Though reports at the film’s world premiere out of Cannes last year were decidedly less than positive and Lionsgate has yet to set a U.S. release date, the film has pushed ahead with a new international trailer in advance of its release in Japan at the end of April.
The drama finds McConaughey portraying a wayward businessman who travels to Aokigahara to end his life, but before he can do so, he meets a like-minded soul (Ken Watanabe) who’s come for the same reason. The two men forestall each other’s deaths and push one another to begin a journey of self-discovery that will renew their leases on life. Attendees at Cannes were banking on another tremblingly powerful investigation of extreme human behavior on par with the director’s Palme d’Or-winning Elephant, but were disappointed to find a pervasive inertness in the drama. But movies tend to play differently once they’ve left the Croisette, so we’ll defer to the trailer above and leave you to make your own judgement.