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Gus Van Sant's Sea of Trees booed at Cannes

Sea of Trees

Story by Jack Foley

GUS Van Sant’s latest movie Sea of Trees has been booed at the Cannes Film Festival, according to Variety.

The film, which stars Matthew McConaughey and Ken Watanabe, follows two men who meet in Japan’s renowned Sea of Trees to end their lives, only to strike up an unlikely friendship and try to find their way out of the forest.

Heading into Cannes, the film was seen as an early contender for Palme d’Or glory and even a possible early Oscar contender, especially given McConaughey’s presence in the lead role.

Van Sant himself is no stranger to Cannes success either, having won with Elephant and garnering acclaim for Last Days and Gerry.

But early reviews have been scathing. The Guardian‘s Peter Bradshaw described it as a “fantastically annoying and dishonest tear-jerker”, adding: “The finale to this situation made me want to scream at how evasive and fatuous it is.” He awarded it one star.

Equally scathing was Variety, which wrote: “Almost impressive in the way it shifts from dreary two-hander to so-so survival thriller to terminal-illness weepie to M. Night Shyamalan/Nicholas Sparks-level spiritual hokum, this risibly long-winded drama is perhaps above all a profound cultural insult, milking the lush green scenery of Japan’s famous Aokigahara forest for all it’s worth, while giving co-lead Ken Watanabe little to do other than moan in agony, mutter cryptically, and generally try to act as though McConaughey’s every word isn’t boring him (pardon the expression) to death.”

IndieWire, meanwhile, labelled Sea of Trees as “Gus Van Sant’s worst movie”, referring to it as a “surprisingly ill-conceived drama”.

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