The first and by no means last example of The Sea of Trees’s egregious literalism transpires even before the film has properly begun, as the title appears before a kitschy aerial shot that just so happens to show, yes, you guessed it, a sea of trees. The sea in question here is Japan’s Aokigahara forest, which, as we later discover, is the first entry you get if you Google “perfect place to die.” This is quite literally what’s led unrealistically hunky professor Arthur Brennan (Matthew McConaughey) to pick the forest as the location for his suicide, which he decides against at the last minute, pills still in hand, thus conveniently paving the way for a barrage of flashbacks that spell out just how he ended up here in nice, big letters.
The Sea Of Trees (#1–10 of 2)
1. ”Inside Out, Carol and Macbeth Highlight the 2015 Cannes Film Festival Selections.” Gus Van Sant’s The Sea of Trees and Denis Villeneuve’s Sicario both in competition.
“Once again, the world is coming to Cannes and with it some of the more anticipated films of the year. Festival du Cannes President Pierre Lescure and General Delgate (aka Festival Director) Thierry Fremaux revealed this year’s main competition and Un Certain Regard slates during a long and rambling press conference early this morning and a number of American auteurs are once again in the mix. Todd Haynes’ Carol with Cate Blancehtt, Gus Van Sant’s Sea of Trees with Matthew McConaughey, Woody Allen’s Irrational Man with Joaquin Phoenix and Emma Stone, Pixar’s Inside Out, Denis Villeneuve’s Sicario with Emily Blunt and Josh Brolin, Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth with Marion Cotillard and Michael Fassbender and Natalie Portman’s A Tale of Love and Darkness are some of the initial highlights from today’s announcement that will perk the ears of American audiences.”