Imagine if you will a movie in which Matthew McConaughey plays a spectacled academic who’s so beaten down by the difficulties of his middle-class life that he travels to Japan in order to end his life in the Aokigahara forest. Imagine that within that tangle of branches and leaves his character happens upon a wise old fellow (Ken Watanabe) who may be some sort of forest sprite or ghost. Imagine that all of this results in McConaughey’s character experiencing a spiritual rebirth and gaining a newfound appreciation for his place on this earth. Now imagine having to sit through that for two hours. That’s The Sea Of Trees.
The A.V. Club’s Ignatiy Vishnevetsky returned from the 2015 Cannes Film Festival with a review of Gus Van Sant’s psychological mystery film that was so bad, it actually made the movie seem kind of intriguing. Calling it’s Chris Sparling-penned script “one of those clicky machines of storytelling where everything fits together in the worst possible way” and comparing the final product to “a lesser Nicholas Sparks adaptation,” Vishnevetsky warned readers against falling prey to feelings of intrigue. “Sea Of Trees is a mostly a slog,” he wrote, “and not even the kind of formalist slog one would expect Van Sant to pull off.” Now that we have this trailer, we have a greater understanding of what he was talking about.
The Sea Of Trees is scheduled for widespread release on August 26.