The Sea of Trees

The Sea of Trees poster

The Sea of Trees movie poster

With the release of his latest movie, American filmmaker Gus Van Sant’s glory days – more particularly radical, unapologetic works such as Elephant, Gerry and Last Days – seem to suddenly be distant memories: taking us for a walk in the forest where he loses both himself and his audience, it almost looks like the trees were casting a shadow on his talent.

Taking place in Japan’s Suicide Forest where locals and tourists go take their own lives – incidentally also the setting for the recent horror film The ForestThe Sea Of Trees certainly had an interesting premise, especially as the forest was treated as the central character of this movie. Mr. Van Sant seems powerless trying to breathe life into Chris Sparling’s naïve and awkward mystical script. In the process, he also fails at properly directing his actors, his lead actor Matthew McConaughey (Arthur) more particularly delivering a ridiculous overacted performance.

The failure of this movie is even more surprising as Mr. Van Sant already tackled its theme – existential wanderers – beautifully and on many occasions, whether it’s in high school (Elephant), in a rock star’s house (Last Days) or in the desert (Gerry). Despite being in familiar territory, the filmmaker is unable to renew with success, partly due to the presence of incessant and useless flashbacks about Arthur’s doomed love life with Joan (Naomi Watts). The sequences showing Arthur and his Japanese companion (Ken Watanabe) fighting against nature are not any better, making us almost feel like we’re watching a Man vs. Wild episode.

Ramblings about death and mysticism aren’t able to save this movie either and we’re left hoping that Mr. Van Sant will be able to find his way out of the forest for his next movie.

Director: Gus Van Sant – Actors: Matthew McConaughey, Ken Watanabe – Running Time: 1:50 – Year: 2015 – Country: USA
Click here to watch The Sea of Trees trailer
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Moland Fengkov

Moland Fengkov

Based in Paris, Moland is a journalist and photographer; He is more particularly responsible for covering the Cannes film festival for Plume Noire, writing movie reviews and taking gorgeous pictures.
Moland Fengkov

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